Cannabis Regulatory Commission

Nineteen state cannabis regulators announced the formation of the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA) today.

Its goal is to help federal, state, and local jurisdictions that approved or are debating the legalization of cannabis.

“The Cannabis Regulators Association will provide a much-needed forum for regulators to engage with each other to identify and develop best practices, create model policies that safeguard public health and safety, and promote regulatory certainty for industry participants,” said Norman Birenbaum, CANNRA’s inaugural president. He is the Director of Cannabis Programs in New York.

“As New Jersey moves forward with enacting the will of the voters to legalize cannabis, and continues to expand our medical cannabis program, membership in CANNRA will help our state learn from best practices in other states,” said Jeff Brown, Assistant Commissioner for Medicinal Marijuana at the NJ Department of Health and new Executive Director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.  “Working with CANNRA to bring the best evidence-based policies to New Jersey will help ensure our market is fair, equitable, and safe for consumers.”

For years, cannabis regulators have relied on each other to share regulatory experiences, expertise, and help navigate the many issues that come from legalizing and regulating cannabis. Often the first step for state and local jurisdictions weighing legalization is to engage with regulators from established markets and programs. However, there previously was no comprehensive source policymakers could contact.

“The association will strive to create and promote harmony and standardization across jurisdictions which choose to legalize and regulate cannabis,” said Birenbaum. “The Cannabis Regulators Association will also work to ensure federal officials benefit from the vast experiences of states across the nation to ensure any changes to federal law adequately address states’ needs and priorities.”

Cannabis Regulatory Association Nuances

Founding members include the principal cannabis regulators from New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington.

“Our intent in forming this organization is to have CANNRA serve as a resource for policymakers, elected officials, researchers, and other stakeholders to engage with regulators from across the country and receive unbiased information and recommendations regarding the impact and implementation of cannabis policies,” said Birenbaum.

CANNRA anticipates providing membership opportunities for county and municipal cannabis regulators soon. Membership is limited to regulators and representatives from relevant government offices.

The Cannabis Regulators Association takes no formal position on cannabis legalization but rather seeks to provide government jurisdictions with information to help make informed decisions when considering regulated cannabis.

Their executive officers will include Birenbaum; Rick Garza, Director of Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board as First Vice President; Jim Burack, Director of Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division as Second Vice President; Andrew Brisbo, Executive Director of Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency as Third Vice President; and Tyler Klimas, Executive Director of Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board as Secretary-Treasurer.

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