The 2021-22 State Budget Package included the consolidation of the three commercial cannabis licensing agencies (Bureau of Cannabis Control, CalCannabis, and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch) into a new-standalone Department of Cannabis Control, housed in the Consumer Affairs Agency. The consolidation included the addition of new positions appointed by the Governor, with the Director position requiring Senate Confirmation.
On Tuesday, the Governor announced the following appointments for the Department of Cannabis Control:
Nicole Elliott, 36, of Sacramento, has been appointed Director of the California Department of Cannabis Control. Elliott has been the Governor’s Senior Advisor on Cannabis at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development since 2019. She was Director of the Office of Cannabis for the General Services Agency of the City and County of San Francisco from 2017 to 2019, where she served as Project Manager in 2017. Elliott held multiple positions in the Office of San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee from 2011 to 2017 and Office of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom from 2009 to 2010.
Matthew Lee, 35, of Sacramento, has been appointed General Counsel for the California Department of Cannabis Control. Lee served as Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary for the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom from 2019 to 2021. He was Deputy City Attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office from 2016 to 2019. Lee served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Vince Chhabria at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California from 2015 to 2016, Law Clerk for the Honorable Michelle T. Friedland at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 2014 to 2015, and Law Clerk for the Honorable Harry Pregerson at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 2013 to 2014.
Rasha Salama, 44, of Sacramento, has been appointed Chief Deputy for the California Department of Cannabis Control. Salama has been Assistant Branch Chief of the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch at the California Department of Public Health since 2016. She has served in several positions at the Department of Public Health since 2010.
Tamara Colson, 49, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of Legal at the California Department of Cannabis Control. Colson has been Assistant Chief Counsel of the Bureau of Cannabis Control since 2016.
Eugene Hillsman, 41, of Oakland, has been appointed Deputy Director of Equity and Inclusion for the California Department of Cannabis Control. Hillsman has been Deputy Director of the Office of Cannabis for the City and County of San Francisco since 2018.
RCRC is pleased to see the appointment of Nicole Elliot as Director of the DCC. RCRC staff has already established a strong working relationship with Ms. Elliot through her work as the Governor’s Senior Advisor on Cannabis and her willingness to work with local governments to address challenges transitioning the cannabis industry to a regulated market with the implementation of Proposition 64.