WASHINGTON, DC — The nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, the Marijuana Policy Project, announced Tuesday the election of three new members to serve on its board of directors.
The expansion of the board, which now includes nine members, comes on the heels of MPP hiring Steve Hawkins to serve as its new executive director.
“MPP is picking up steam, and momentum is building heading into the midterm elections and upcoming legislative sessions,” said Hawkins, who joined the organization in August. “We are pleased to welcome three outstanding new members to our board of directors. They bring a diverse and solid understanding of marijuana policy, the cannabis industry, and the politics and advocacy efforts that surround them. They have proven track records of leadership and innovation in their fields, and I have no doubt they will be assets to the organization.”
The new appointments to MPP’s now nine-member board of directors include:
- Sheri Orlowitz is a former Justice Department prosecutor and founder of Artemis Holdings Group, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based private investment firm, where her portfolio focuses on emerging businesses in the cannabis industry. She has more than three decades of experience with mergers and acquisitions and executive-level leadership, both domestically and internationally, raising more than $100 million to build, acquire, and sell a dozen companies in the manufacturing, professional services, and real estate industries. Ms. Orlowitz served as an official U.S. envoy to Latvia, Greece, and Portugal, and she was one of the first U.S. women invited by the Saudi Arabian government to teach entrepreneurship at Dar Al-Hekma University. She has been appointed to the National Women’s Business Council and various public and private company advisory boards, including the Harvard University Women’s Leadership Board, National Women’s History Museum, Enterprising Women Magazine, Capital One, MassMutual, Connected Living, Brilliant Factory, and Women Grow.
- Sal Pace is a county commissioner in Pueblo County, Colorado, and a former leader of the Colorado House of Representatives. In addition to joining the board, he will serve as a senior policy advisor for MPP. Mr. Pace is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most knowledgeable elected officials on the subject of marijuana policy. During his time in the General Assembly, he played a leading role in developing Colorado’s medical marijuana model, earning him recognition as the “face of regulation” from local news media. He served on several policy and legislative interim committees focused on cannabis, and he founded a national organization of local elected officials, Leaders For Reform, in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescission of the Cole memo earlier this year. As a county commissioner, Mr. Pace led efforts to create the Institute of Cannabis Research at Colorado State University-Pueblo and to establish the first college scholarship program funded by cannabis tax revenue. Prior to running for office, he served as a Congressional and campaign staffer.
- Les Szabo is director of constructive capital at Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America, which is a leader in environmental sustainability and a leading supporter of U.S. hemp policy reform. Mr. Szabo oversees business development activities for the company, which includes impact investing, philanthropy, and commercial support of supply chain projects around the world. He has 20 years of experience in the natural products and apparel industries, and he was a co-founder of Living Harvest, Dunderdon, and Infinity Sport. He currently sits on the boards of Serendi Coco Samoa Ltd., Regenerative Organic Feed Co., and LifeDose.
“Marijuana policy has come a long way in the 20-plus years since MPP was founded, and much of that progress is thanks to their hard work,” Ms. Orlowitz said. “MPP helped pave the way for the legal cannabis industry, allowing licensed and regulated businesses to begin replacing the illegal market. It is critical that the cannabis industry support these efforts, and I look forward to working with MPP to further develop its relationships with the business community.”
MPP has been a leading advocate for federal marijuana policy reform on Capitol Hill since the organization was founded in 1995, and it has spearheaded most of the major state-level reforms that have occurred over the past two decades.
“MPP has done more to bring about the end of marijuana prohibition than any other organization, and I am humbled to be joining its board of directors,” Mr. Pace said. “Thanks to MPP’s state-by-state victories and its efforts in Congress, our country is on the precipice of ending federal cannabis prohibition. In my two decades working in politics I have built relationships with a wide variety of policymakers at all levels of government and on both sides of the aisle. I intend to use these relationships to help further the cause of ending prohibition and replacing it with a more sensible system of regulation.”