Illinois’ top cannabis official, Toi Hutchinson, last week announced her departure as senior advisor to Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and has joined the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) as its new president and CEO. Hutchinson replaces MPP Executive Director Steven Hawkins, who will focus his efforts on federal cannabis reform as executive director of the United States Cannabis Council (USCC).
MPP will remain a member of the USCC and the organizations will share staff, board members, and resources.
Hutchinson described Hawkins’ work at MPP as “stellar,” adding that she looks forward “to working with him in his new capacity along with legislators and partners across the country to advance the goals and mission of MPP by harnessing our collective power to advocate for changes to federal cannabis policies.”
“I’m pleased to be joining the team at MPP, where I will continue my years-long effort to develop and support cannabis legalization legislation that centers on equity and repairing the harms of the past. We are incredibly proud of the hard work and lessons learned in Illinois, standing up programs to invest in equity entrepreneurs, reinvesting in communities, and clearing hundreds of thousands of arrests and criminal records.” – Hutchinson in a press release
MPP Board Chairman Sal Pace said Hutchinson’s “unique resume is perfectly suited to lead MPP” as the organization finishes their “reform work state-by-state across the country.” He noted that the organization worked alongside Hutchinson in her previous role and as one of the initial authors of Illinois’ adult-use legalization bill. Pace said that collaboration ensured the state’s law “contained a strong social justice framework that included decriminalization in addition to legalization.”
Hawkins described Hutchinson as “an incredible leader.” She is also a member of the Chicago Federation of Women, the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Hutchinson also served as an Illinois state senator and an attorney at the law firm of Chapman and Cutler.
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