The Marijuana Policy Project announced that Toi Hutchinson will join its new president and CEO. Hutchinson, a former Illinois state senator, most recently served as senior advisor to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on cannabis legalization implementation.
Change in Command
For the past year, MPP Executive Director Steven Hawkins has led MPP and the United States Cannabis Council (USCC). Hawkins will now exclusively focus his efforts on federal cannabis reform at USCC. MPP will remain a member of USCC and continue to share staff, board members, and resources.
“Toi’s unique resume is perfectly suited to lead MPP as we finish our reform work state-by-state across the country,” said MPP Board Chairman Sal Pace. “Toi worked alongside MPP as one of the initial authors of the Illinois adult-use cannabis legislation to ensure that the law contained a strong social justice framework that included decriminalization in addition to legalization. MPP has always been focused not only on legalization but also on doing it right and ending the war on drugs.”
“I am proud of what we have accomplished at MPP and look forward to working alongside Toi in the fight to end cannabis prohibition,” said Steven Hawkins, president and CEO of USCC. “MPP played a pivotal role in incubating USCC, and we are now taking that work to the next level. Toi is an incredible leader, and I know that our organizations will work tirelessly to advance our shared goals.”
“I’m pleased to be joining the team at MPP, where I will continue my years-long effort to develop and support cannabis legalization legislation that centers on equity and repairing the harms of the past,” said Toi Hutchinson. “We are incredibly proud of the hard work and lessons learned in Illinois, standing up programs to invest in equity entrepreneurs, reinvesting in communities, and clearing hundreds of thousands of arrests and criminal records.
Toi’s Impressive Background
In addition to Hutchinson’s position as senior advisor to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Toi also served as an Illinois state senator and an attorney at the law firm of Chapman and Cutler. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences (English) from the University of Illinois. Following this, she also earned a Juris Doctor from Northern Illinois University College of Law.
Toi is a member of the Chicago Federation of Women. Other organizations include the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership, Links, International, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Since 1995, MPP has spearheaded most of the significant state-level reforms over the past two decades.
MPP helped push several adult-use legalization laws, starting with Colorado in 2012. the first state to legalize cannabis for adults. Following this, MPP helped pass initiatives to legalize and regulate cannabis in Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Michigan, and Montana.
In addition to managing ballot initiative campaigns, MPP has also enacted numerous policies by passing laws through state legislatures. MPP spearheaded the advocacy campaigns that made Vermont and Illinois the first two states to legalize cannabis for adults. The organization played a critical role in recent legalization laws to pass, such as Connecticut earlier this year.