Michigan marijuana industry ‘shocked’ by plan to move licensing director

Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency Executive Director Andrew Brisbo is moving to a new position after nearly three years spearheading the creation of the state’s legalized commercial marijuana industry.

The reason for the move hasn’t been disclosed.

The transfer “shocked and disappointed” members of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, said Robin Schneider, director of the trade organization with over 400 business members.

“We want to thank Director Brisbo for his commitment to our program, for his help building our industry and for doing an incredible job leading the agency,” Schneider said.

A spokesperson for the Cannabis Regulatory Agency deferred comment to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Office.

“We are proud of the incredible team at the Cannabis Regulatory Agency for establishing Michigan as on of the top cannabis markets in the country,” said a statement issued by Jada Fisher, a spokesperson with the governor’s office. “Over the last few years, the industry has experienced rapid growth with the creation of over 20,000 well-paying jobs and the generation of $500 million in tax revenue.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Director Brisbo in the agency until he transitions to his new leadership role at the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs later next month. We will begin looking to fill the position so that the agency can continue the high-quality work for which they are known.”

Brisbo is president of the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA), an organization of cannabis regulators representing at least 19 states in efforts to streamline and promoted regulated marijuana markets across the nations.

Brisbo was appointed as director of the Bureau of Marijuana Regulation in 2017 before it was dissolved into the Marijuana Regulatory Agency — since renamed the Cannabis Regulatory Agency — which he’s led since April 2019.

Brisbo started his career with state government in 2004, when he worked as a regulation officer in Detroit’s casinos. He later advanced to oversee a Secretary of State branches in Lansing, Howell and Ann Arbor before moving on to roles in the state’s licensing division.

Brisbo has a bachelor’s degree in leisure services administration from Central Michigan University and previously told MLive he had initially planned to run a municipal parks and recreation program, before being thrust to the forefront of the state marijuana industry.

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