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Published in Economic Development

Whitmer taps law enforcement veteran as acting head of Cannabis Regulatory Agency 

BY Thursday, September 15, 2022 04:20pm

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is turning to a veteran law enforcement professional to run the Cannabis Regulatory Agency as the state embarks on a national search to select a permanent executive director.

Whitmer today announced the interim appointment of Brian Hanna to lead the CRA, effective Sept. 19. 

Brian Hanna, interim executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Hanna worked for five years in the Marijuana Regulatory Agency — the predecessor of today’s CRA — as the manager of field operations, inspections and investigations. Based within the  Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the CRA replaced the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and has authority over the state’s cannabis and hemp industries. 

“The state of Michigan and the CRA are at the forefront of the nation’s hemp and marijuana industry, setting the standard for stimulating business growth and preserving secure consumer access to cannabis,” Whitmer said in a statement. “A win for the industry is a win for Michiganders because its tax revenue allows us to invest back into our schools, roads, and other essential services that make a real difference in our communities.” 

Hanna’s interim appointment follows the planned departure of former executive director Andrew Brisbo, who is leaving the CRA to head up the state Bureau of Construction Codes, which is also housed within LARA. Brisbo had led the state’s marijuana regulatory body since 2019. 

Most recently, Hanna served as an analyst in the Lansing Computer Crimes unit at the Michigan State Police. He has prior experience as a deputy for the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office and served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve. 

“I am excited to return to the Cannabis Regulatory Agency and am grateful for this opportunity,” Hanna said in a statement. “I look forward to reconnecting with stakeholders to ensure we have a clear and concise regulatory framework for oversight of this industry to promote continued growth in Michigan. 

“I also look forward to working with the Administration and our legislative partners wherever possible to continue providing safe products to consumers.” 

Hanna’s selection drew praise from the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association, which represents large growers, processors, and vertically integrated cannabis companies. 

“Brian’s years of experience in CRA field investigations and law enforcement will be essential as we work to address Michigan’s illicit cannabis market and illegal activity in the licensed industry that threatens public health and puts jobs, businesses and opportunities at risk,” MCMA Chair Shelly Edgerton said in a statement. “He clearly has the experience, background and credentials to ramp-up much-needed enforcement in the cannabis marketplace.”

For August, the CRA reported marijuana sales of about $207.9 million, driven largely by adult recreational sales of almost $189.4 million. August sales were down less than a percent from July’s record of $209.9 million, according to CRA data.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with comment from the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association.

Read 979 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 September 2022 23:40
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