Cannabis Regulators Association Welcomes First Executive Director

The Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of cannabis regulators established to share institutional knowledge and develop cannabis best practices, has named Gillian Schauer, PhD, MPH as the organization’s first Executive Director.

Dr. Schauer comes to CANNRA with nearly two decades of work in public health and drug policy. Dr. Schauer previously founded and led a multi-state learning collaborative on public health and cannabis for state health officials. She regularly provides consultation to state and federal agencies on the development of cannabis regulation, policy trends and their outcomes. Dr. Schauer had been serving as a Senior Advisor to CANNRA and its members for the last several years, aiding in program development, policy tracking, and regulator roundtable convenings.  

“I am honored to continue working with CANNRA in this new capacity,” Dr. Schauer says. “It’s a dynamic time with many states legalizing adult and medical cannabis use, and with ongoing discussion around federal legalization.”

“Cannabis regulators have practical knowledge and valuable lessons to share with state, municipal and federal officials,” she adds. “Among other things, I look forward to facilitating and furthering that important information exchange.”
In addition to hiring Dr. Schauer as Executive Director, CANNRA members voted in additional members to their Executive Committee. Michele Nakata, Supervisor of the Medical Cannabis Dispensary Licensing Program at the Hawaii Department of Health was elected CANNRA’s Third Vice President. Chris Tholkes, Director of the Office of Medical Cannabis at the Minnesota Department of Health, was elected as an at-large board member, as were Steve Marks, Executive Director of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, and Andrew Turnage, Executive Director at the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission.

These board members join CANNRA President Norman Birenbaum, Director of Cannabis Program in New York State, CANNRA First Vice President Rick Garza, Executive Director of the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Association, CANNRA Second Vice President, Andrew Brisbo, Executive Director of the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, and CANNRA Treasurer, Tyler Klimas, Executive Director of the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board.

“The Cannabis Regulators Association is pleased to announce new additions to our organization’s leadership,” says CANNRA President Norman Birenbaum. “Dr. Schauer’s work informing and advising state and federal agencies on cannabis policy is unparalleled. We are thrilled to welcome her as our first Executive Director during this pivotal time for cannabis legalization and policy reform” he said.
CANNRA now has 35 member states and territories. In addition to the 19 founding member states (Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington), CANNRA welcomes cannabis regulators from Arizona, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and Guam.



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