Legal Blog

Governor Moore Announces Appointments to Office of Social Equity and Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council

Maryland State House, in Annapolis, at dusk.On July 17, 2023, Governor Wes Moore announced the appointment of Audrey L. Johnson as Acting Executive Director of the Office of Social Equity and Courtney Davis as Deputy Director.

Established by the Cannabis Reform Act of 2023, the Office of Social Equity will provide technical support for historically disadvantaged individuals and businesses seeking to enter the State’s adult-use cannabis market. The office will also work 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, Governor. Moore announced appointments to the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council under the Maryland Department of Health:

  • 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 will be 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.

ABOUT JON WACHS | 301.575.0302

As founder of the firm’s Cannabis Law group, Jon Wachs is a recognized resource on issues relating to the evolving relationship between cannabis law and intellectual property protection.  He has worked with many operators in the cannabis industry to navigate the rules and processes relating to specific state medical cannabis programs.  Mr. Wachs provided essential legal support to obtain required Maryland regulatory approval for the transfer of several licenses affected by a multi-billion dollar business combination.  He also facilitated a series of business transactions involving the sale, purchase and combination of integrated cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary businesses.