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Ohio Appoints Former Head of Alcohol Regulator as New Cannabis Superintendent

The Ohio Department of Commerce has appointed James V. Canepa as the first superintendent for the newly formed Division of Cannabis Control.

This division is responsible for overseeing the safety and regulation of both medical and the newly legalised adult-use cannabis industries in Ohio.

Canepa has served as head of Ohio’s alcohol regulator, the Division of Liquor Control, for over six years and will officially enter the role on January 1, 2024.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to implement a first-of-its-kind program for the state in a safe, responsible and efficient way,” said Canepa.

“I’ve been fortunate to spend years working within both law enforcement and the retail industry. Both experiences will be central to the work that has already begun in this area inside the Department of Commerce.”

Greg McIlvaine, the former Policy Director for the Medical Marijuana Control Program, will also assume a leadership role in the new Division of Cannabis Control.

His appointment comes as significant question marks hang over the state’s newly launched recreational cannabis market, as Republican lawmakers continue efforts to roll back on many of the original bills’ core tenants.

Last week, Ohio’s Senate greenlit a legislative package to amend the state’s cannabis bill, ‘Issue 2’.

However, this bill has failed to garner approval in the House before lawmakers concluded their sessions for the year. Consequently, the voter-endorsed regulations will stay unaltered until at least early 2024.

Despite a series of hearings on a separate amendment measure held by a House committee over the past week, no decisions or actions have been taken by its members.

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