DOH official leaving for Colo. cannabis company

The New Jersey Department of Health’s principal deputy commissioner, Jackie Cornell, is leaving her post to join Colorado-based 1906, a cannabis edibles company.

Cornell will be chief of policy and health innovations, and will remain in New Jersey, according to a Wednesday statement from 1906.

“I’ve learned through my background in public health that we don’t see improvements by telling people what to do,” Cornell said.

“We encourage them to make better decisions themselves by empowering them with information and education.”

1906 had applied for a medical marijuana license in the state, but was unsuccessful.

The company’s CEO told Rolling Stone last year that the company has an interest in the legalized market, if  it ever happens, in New Jersey, and that it is expanding into the Canadian and Massachusetts market.

Cornell joined Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration in January 2018 and was previously appointed as the regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by President Barack Obama.

“At 1906, every conversation comes back to how can we help people live better, whether that’s managing their anxiety, helping them get a good night’s sleep or simply making their day a little bit more blissful — all things that lead to an improved quality of life,” Cornell said in a statement.

“I’m thrilled to be part of that.”

Cornell is the second top official to announce a departure from the department this month. Commissioner Shereef Elnahal will be leaving this summer to lead University Hospital in Newark.

The current interim CEO at University Hospital, Judy Persichelli, is likely to take Elnahal’s place to lead the department.

Cornell’s last day is May 31.