1.- State Cannabis Regulatory and Policy Approaches in Anticipation for Federal Legalization
1:30 PM - 2:15 PM Tue
Norman Birenbaum is one of the country’s preeminent cannabis policy advisors and regulatory experts. Mr. Birenbaum has served as the chief cannabis regulator and policy official for the states of New York and Rhode Island. Mr. Birenbaum was also the founding President of the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA), an association whose members represent the primary cannabis regulatory agencies from across the country. CANNRA provides a much needed forum for regulators to engage with each other to identify and develop best practices and model policies. CANNRA also provides policy makers and regulatory agencies with the resources to make informed decisions when considering whether and how to legalize and regulate cannabis. In 2019 Mr. Birenbaum was appointed as New York State’s first Director of Cannabis Programs. As Director, oversaw the regulation, administration, and policy development of the New York State’s medical marijuana and industrial hemp programs and to lead state efforts to legalize cannabis for adult use. This work resulted in the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) legalizing cannabis for adult use and creating a consolidated Office of Cannabis Management to oversee all cannabis industry sectors within the state. Following passage of the MRTA, Mr. Birenbaum coordinated adult use cannabis implementation and policy changes across all state agencies and the establishment of the Office of Cannabis Management. As Director, he also oversaw the creation and implementation of a new regulatory structure for CBD and cannabinoid hemp derived products which allowed them to be sold as a food, beverage, or dietary supplement within New York. Before joining New York State, Mr. Birenbaum established the Rhode Island Office of Cannabis Regulation where he oversaw Rhode Island’s medical marijuana and industrial hemp programs and led Governor Gina Raimondo’s efforts to reform Rhode Island’s medical marijuana programs and legalize cannabis for adult use. Before working in cannabis, Mr. Birenbaum served on the staffs of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.