Marijuana Business Magazine October 2018

NEW HlRES & PROMOTlONS By Omar Sacirbey MPP’s New Leader Steven Hawkins , the new executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), got his job at the advocacy group in ho-hum fashion. In March, the longtime criminal justice reformer and civil-rights activist saw the vacancy posted on a website (he can’t remem- ber which one), sent in a resume, got a call back and, after a few interviews, was hired in August. But there was nothing ho-hum about the job’s appeal to Hawkins, who over the past three decades has worked as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and later as the organization’s executive vice president, served as executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and also worked as executive director of Amnesty International USA. Most recently, Hawkins was the president of the Coalition for Public Safety, the largest national bipartisan effort to reform the justice system at the state and federal levels. What all those positions had in common, Hawkins said, was they looked at criminal justice reform from what he called the back end: • Sentencing reform. • Creating job opportunities for people after they leave prison. • Securing voting rights for citizens convicted of a felony. MPP, by contrast, “is an opportunity to think about the front end,” Hawkins said. For Hawkins, front-end solutions include legalizing adult-use marijuana and getting the plant rescheduled at the federal level. “It not only changes the playing field with respect to business opportunities and avenues for investment, and allowing the industry to flourish, but it also dramatically changes what has been happening on the ground and the impact on thousands of young peoples’ lives,” Hawkins said. “I spent a lot of time in the back end, and that work is important. But getting to the front-end solutions, this spoke to me and has been informed by my past work.” Hawkins also hopes to use the networks he’s developed over the years to advance MPP’s goals, including expand- ing its base of supporters. “When I look at the terrain, I don’t see enough of a civil- rights community presence, I don’t see organized labor in this space. Their members need CBD oil and have children caught up in the legal system because of marijuana use. I’m thinking of those voices coming in,” Hawkins said. “I Steven Hawkins A look at some recent hiring moves in the marijuana industry & Movers SHAKERS ( ) 112 • Marijuana Business Magazine • October 2018