Three Roanoke residents among those appointed by Governor Northam to cannabis watchdogs

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – On Monday morning, Gov. Ralph Northam announced his appointments – including three from Roanoke – to the three newly formed councils tasked with overseeing the legalization of recreational marijuana by the Commonwealth.

It comes after Virginia became the first southern state to pass adult cannabis legislation, with changes that went into effect on July 1.

The new law legalizes simple possession and home cultivation for adults 21 and over; seals certain cases related to marijuana; and creates a new independent state entity, the Cannabis Control Authority (CCA), to regulate the cannabis market.

In the coming years, the General Assembly must reconstitute sections of the bill and the CCA must implement regulations before legal sales of cannabis can begin.

“Virginia is committed to legalizing cannabis the right way – by learning from other states, listening to public health and safety experts, and focusing on social equity,” Northam said. “There is a tremendous amount of work to be done to establish a market for adult marijuana in our Commonwealth, and I am proud to name these talented Virginians who will bring a diverse background, incredible depth of expertise and a shared commitment to the world. public service for this important effort.

You can read more about each of the councils and governor’s appointments below. For answers to frequently asked questions, visit


The Cannabis Control Authority (CCA), the regulatory agency for the legal cannabis market in Virginia, is governed by a five-member board of directors responsible for creating the adult cannabis market and is legally vested with the control of regulating the sale, transportation and distribution of marijuana and marijuana products in the Commonwealth.

Over the next few years, officials say the council will strive to create a fair and equitable regulatory structure and provide essential guidance to CCA staff as they work to develop a workforce, establish regulations and to ensure that the legalization of marijuana accomplishes the health, safety, and equity objectives established by law. However, board members cannot have financial interests in the cannabis industry.

Northam is authorized by enacted legislation to the five members of the board, which are listed below:

  • Neil Amin d’Henrico, CEO, Shamin Hotels
  • Michael Jérôme Massie, Esq. from Portsmouth, Owner, Michael Jerome Massie, PC
  • Bette Brand of Roanoke, CEO, Strategic Consulting LLC
    • Brand received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Virginia Tech and a Masters of Business Administration from Virginia Tech. She has held a number of positions in the US Department of Agriculture, including Assistant Under Secretary for Rural Development, Administrator of the Rural Cooperative Service, and Acting Administrator of the Rural Public Service. Prior to his federal service, however, Brand held managerial positions at Farm Credit of the Virginias for over 35 years. She is currently the founder and CEO of Strategic Consulting LLC.
  • Rasheeda N. Creighton of Richmond, Co-Founder, The Jackson Ward Collective
  • Shane Emmett of Midlothian, Co-Founder and Former CEO of Health Warrior

“The diversity of background and expertise will provide vital insights for the Cannabis Control Authority and the important work that lies ahead,” said Public Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Brian J. Moran. “I look forward to working with the members of the Board of Directors at the start of this process. “


Virginia’s adult cannabis law spends 30% of tax revenue from cannabis sales – $ 7.8-12.9 million in 2024 and $ 38.4-63.9 million in 2028 – on a cannabis equity reinvestment fund.

A 20-person Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board will manage this fund, which will then be used to provide resources to communities that have suffered disproportionate drug law enforcement and economic divestment. Specifically, the governor’s office says the fund will support locally designed and community-based responses to such impacts, including workforce development grants, apprenticeship and reintegration programs, as well as scholarships for historically marginalized people.

“We are intentionally developing a fair project that will integrate equity and inclusion at every step and at every level of the marijuana legalization process,” said Dr Janice Underwood, Director of Diversity at Northam, who will chair the board. administration. “The Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board will be an important voice for Virginians and will help increase resources for the people, communities and families most affected by the disparate enforcement of marijuana laws and ensure that fairness remains. at the forefront of legalization in Virginia. “

Northam is authorized by enacted legislation to make five appointments to the board of directors, including one representative from the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission and four representatives from a community provider or community development organization.

In addition, the General Assembly will make eight other appointments, including one person who has previously been incarcerated or convicted of a marijuana-related crime; a veteran; a representative from one of Virginia’s historically black colleges and universities; an entrepreneur; and public health experts with experience in trauma-informed care, education focused on access to opportunities for youth in underserved communities, Virginia’s foster care system, and workforce development. of work.

Additional information about this board, such as the seven ex-officio members, can be found here.

  • Jorge Figueredo, MPP for Falls Church, Executive Director, Edu-Futuro
  • Amari Harris of Richmond, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Lawyer, Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
  • W. Anthony West of Roanoke, Director of Operations, Virginia CARES (Community Action Re-Entry System)
  • Sheba Williams of Richmond, Executive Director, Nolef Turns, Inc.
  • Vickie R. Williams-Cullins of Hampton, Executive Director, OPN-Door Communications LLC


The 21-person Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council is an expert advisory council to the CCA Board of Directors that will not only assess and monitor public health issues, trends and impacts related to marijuana. and legalization of marijuana, but will also make recommendations on health warnings, retail marijuana and product safety and composition, and public health awareness, programming and related resources. In addition, the board must approve any health-related regulations before the CCA can finalize them.

“The Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council will ensure that health experts have a seat at the table as Virginia establishes a legal cannabis market,” said Health and Human Resources Secretary Dr. Daniel Carey, who will chair the Board. “I am happy to serve alongside these dedicated and knowledgeable board members. “

The enacted legislation authorizes the governor to make four appointments to the Council, which must include a representative of a local health district, a person from the cannabis industry, an academic researcher familiar with cannabis, and a patient enrolled in medical cannabis.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly will make 10 additional nominations, including a representative of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, experts in the treatment and prevention of substance use disorders, and a person experienced in advocating for human rights. persons with disabilities, someone with a background in social equity or a member of the Medical Society of Virginia and representative of the Virginia Pharmacists Association.

More details on this board, such as the seven ex-officio members, are available here.

  • Ngiste Abebe of Richmond, Vice President of Public Policy, Columbia Care
  • Larry Keen II of Petersburg, Associate Professor, College of Health and Natural Sciences, Department of Psychology, Virginia State University
  • Dr Cynthia Morrow of Roanoke, Director of Health, Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts
  • Marcus Treiber de Leesburg, CEO, EMT Holdings LLC

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