Wesley McWhite III has been appointed as the director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday.
In this role, McWhite will lead the office in charge of establishing and administering unified practices and procedures for promoting participation in the medical cannabis and personal use cannabis industries by people from socially and economically disadvantaged communities. The office also will conduct advertising and promotional campaigns to increase awareness and industry participation, as well as lead several other initiatives to ensure an equitable marketplace.
The appointment comes a day after the commission unanimously voted to approve its first set of regulations to govern the new industry. Murphy said the announcement is evidence of the commitment he has made to establish an adult-use cannabis marketplace that prioritizes equity.
“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 overpolicing and exclusion from business opportunities,” Murphy said in a 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 currently serves as policy manager for the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation of New Jersey. He previously served the organization as development manager and as a policy and development associate. He said he is thrilled to be taking on the new role.
“As a Black gay man, whose family has roots in Trenton spanning generations, I am honored and excited to join the Cannabis Regulatory Commission,” he said. “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.
“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.”
McWhite holds an associate of arts degree from Hudson County Community College.