The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) has tapped the former CEO of the state’s first licensed cannabis grower as state program manager for cannabis, CT Insider reports. Jennifer Mandzuk worked at Theraplant from 2014 until January and served as the company’s CEO since July 2022, the report says.
DCP spokesperson Kaitlyn Krasselt told Insider that “Agencies often hire subject matter experts from the industry to ensure high quality, experienced staff.”
“There is no formal conflict of interest when a former employee of an industry that we regulate comes to work for the regulating agency. … There is no requirement to obtain a formal approval from the Office of the State Ethics.” — Krasselt to CT Insider
The state ethics office told Insider that the state’s code of ethics “does not contain a blanket prohibition against a current public official making decisions that would affect his or her former employer.”
From 2019 to 2020, Theraplant spent $337,213.45 on lobbying efforts, according to a CT Post report in March. In 2021 and 2022 the firm spent $320,974.35, the report says.
Theraplant is one of four active cannabis cultivators in the state, and was the first when medical cannabis was legalized in 2015. The company was acquired by Greenrose Holding in 2021, and again this year by New York-based DXR Holdco subsidiary NewCo, according to Security and Exchange Commission filings outlined by Insider.
According to the job post, the state program manager for cannabis “is responsible for the management of the cannabis program in the Department of Consumer Protection, and may be responsible for management and oversight of other programs within the Drug Control Division and reports to the Director of the Drug Control Division.”
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