After more than two years as the senior advisor to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Toi Hutchinson is leaving the position she jokingly referred to as the state’s pot “czar” for a new role, this time as president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project.
“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,” Hutchinson said in a press release.
Prior to working with the governor, Hutchinson was an Illinois state senator and one of the authors of the state’s adult-use legislation, which is noted for its strong social justice and equity framework. She previously worked as an attorney and is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University College of Law.
“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,” she said.
Announced in December, Hutchinson takes over for former executive director Steven Hawkins, who also leads the United States Cannabis Council and will concentrate his efforts there while MPP remains focused on reforms at the state level.
“Steve Hawkins’ work at MPP was stellar, and I look 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,” Hutchinson said.