Wesley McWhite III was named director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Aug. 20, one day after the CRC unanimously voted to approve its first set of regulations to govern the state’s new adult-use cannabis industry.
“Since Day One, we have said that the legalization of recreational use cannabis for adults in New Jersey must include those that have historically suffered from over-policing and exclusion from business opportunities,” said Gov. Phil Murphy in a prepared statement. “I am proud to appoint Wes as the director of the office in charge of ensuring that our new adult-use cannabis marketplace is inclusive, diverse, and equitable. I know that he will serve our state honorably. The work of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission is just one example of how our administration is striving to reverse decades of social and racial inequities and to fight for a stronger and fairer New Jersey.”
McWhite will lead the office in charge of establishing and administering practices and procedures to bring socially and economically disadvantaged New Jerseyans into the state’s medical and adult use cannabis industries.
The office will also conduct advertising and promotional campaigns to increase awareness and industry participation.
“As a Black gay man, whose family has roots in Trenton spanning generations, I am honored and excited to join the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. The War on Drugs has devastated poor, minority and LGBTQIA communities for too long and we have a responsibility to include those that have been most impacted in this process and industry from the start,” said McWhite in a prepared statement.
“My philosophy for outreach, advocacy, equity and inclusion seeks to expand opportunities like these to underrepresented communities. By bringing my perspective to this dedicated team, I am determined to help get this right for all New Jerseyans. I am so grateful the governor has entrusted me with this appointment and I am eager to do everything I can for the people of New Jersey,” he said.
McWhite is policy manager for the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation of New Jersey and has a long history with the organization, previously serving as development manager and as a policy and development associate. He advocated for HIV/AIDS healthcare access and prevention and organized large events to advocate for patients.