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Maryland Governor Appoints Marijuana Equity And Health Officials



The Office of Social Equity will provide technical assistance to social equity applicants seeking to enter the state’s cannabis market.

By Bryan P. Sears, Maryland Matters

Gov. Wes Moore (D) on Monday announced nearly a dozen appointments to two new cannabis-related entities, just after adult-use sales became legal in the state.

The governor appointed Audrey L. Johnson as acting executive director of the Office of Social Equity and Courtney Davis as its deputy director.

Johnson comes to the agency from Johns Hopkins University and Health System where she served as senior director for economic innovation and strategy since 2021.

Davis has served as the executive director of DC-based Marijuana Matters, a nonprofit organization that advocates for economic inclusion, social equity and restorative justice in cannabis public policy.

The office was created as part of the Cannabis Reform Act of 2023. The office will provide technical assistance to social equity applicants seeking to enter the state’s cannabis market. The office also works with the cannabis Community Repair and Reinvestment Fund and the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund.

Both Johnson and Davis are subject to Senate confirmation in the 2024 session.

Additionally, Moore named nine members of the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council:

  • Dorothy Lennig, incoming director, Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services.
  • Madhumi Mitra, Ph.D., a professor of Biology and environmental sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
  • Mathew Swinburne, associate director, The Network for Public Health Eastern Region, University of Maryland Francis Carey King School of Law.
  • Dr. Deondra D. Asike, clinical associate in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  • Dr. Leigh Vinocur, chief medical officer and founder of Ananda Medical Practice.
  • Leah Sera, PharmD and associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
  • Dr. David A. Gorelick, professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
  • Jocelyn Bratton-Payne, a social worker and director of substance use disorder programs at New Hope Treatment Center.
  • Karrissa Miller, partner at Pinnacle CT, LLC, a Maryland independent testing laboratory and founding partner at US Cannalytics.

The council is responsible for studying the public health impacts of cannabis use in Maryland. The panel will also make recommendations to mitigate misuse, addiction and access by persons under 21 years of age.

Advisory council members are not subject to Senate confirmation.

This story was first published by Maryland Matters.

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