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Monday, Dec 2, 2019

* From the new cannabis legalization law

The position of Illinois Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer is created within the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation under the Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation. The Illinois Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer shall be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

* September 27th

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, a Democrat from south suburban Olympia Fields, will resign her seat to join the Pritzker administration in the $220,000-per-year role of cannabis regulation oversight officer.

* Jamie Munks in the Tribune today

In September, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration made a splash by announcing Toi Hutchinson would oversee the implementation of Illinois’ new recreational cannabis program, laid out in landmark legislation the then-state senator played a key role in drafting.

A Pritzker spokeswoman said in a Sept. 26 email that Hutchinson’s salary would be $220,000, and that “the title is in statute so it’s Illinois Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer,” a job quickly dubbed “pot czar.”

But when Hutchinson officially started work for the administration Nov. 4, it was as “Senior Adviser to the Governor on Cannabis Control.” […]

The administration said in one statement provided in response to questions from the Tribune that the provision would not apply to the senior adviser position Hutchinson holds, and in another: “Toi Hutchinson was not appointed to the position of Illinois Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer,” directly contradicting the September email from Pritzker’s office.

* As Jamie points out in the article, there’s this pesky Illinois Constitution thingy

No member of the General Assembly during the term for which he was elected or appointed shall be appointed to a public office which shall have been created… by the General Assembly during that term.

So, the position created by the General Assembly is still open. That could create questions about how she’ll fund her staff because the statute says the funding will come from the Cannabis Regulation Fund. Same goes for the requirement that the office conduct a study of discrimination in the industry and make recommendations “for reducing or eliminating any identified barriers to entry in the cannabis market.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:40 pm:

    Measure twice, cut once. Oof.

  2. - Bruce (no not him) - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:43 pm:

    So does she still make $220,000 or is that salary going to whomever fills the “real” job?

  3. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:44 pm:

    Sorry. $220k/yr is ridiculous.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:44 pm:

    === No member of the General Assembly during the term for which he was elected or appointed shall be appointed to a public office which shall have been created… by the General Assembly during that term.===

    Pesky constitution.

    Can they make Ms. Hutchinson… “Food and Beverage” chairman in the meantime?

  5. - MakePoliticsCoolAgain - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:52 pm:

    =“Food and Beverage” chairman=

    “Food and Beverage” Director, OW. Cannot forget to add “director” in that title.

  6. - {Sigh} - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:54 pm:

    Another example of how the cannabis bill was rushed. If you look at the language in the bill, the “czar” position had no regulatory or administrative oversight over the agencies involved or the industry. How many state positions with NO authority require Senate confirmation? None that I can recall. The industry requested this provision in case someone was appointed that they didn’t like. They could possibly stall the confirmation.

    Also, the state doesn’t do disparity studies. CMS contracts out with a third party vendor and so does IDOT and the Tollway.

    As the Senior Advisor to the Governor, I’m sure the staff will be placed in the Oversight Officer’s office with the employees reporting to Hutchinson. The current cannabis employees will probably report to their agencies and Hutchinson.

    On another note. What’s hidden in the bill and the answers to the questions submitted is that there are 3 categories of applicants: 1) Non social equity applicants who will the pay $5,000 application fee. 2) the social equity applicant that reside in an impacted area that will pay $5,000 and 3) the social equity applicant that has $750,000 and qualifies for the reduced fee of $2,500 and the loans.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:54 pm:

    - MakePoliticsCoolAgain -

    My bad… then in, say, 4-5 months, “Entertainment Director”, then right to the bottom of the pile until the next GA sits.

  8. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:55 pm:

    I thought it was just the Lightfoot administration that were amateurs

  9. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:57 pm:

    I know nothing of Ms. Hutchinson. I hope she is of the utmost character. If ever there was/is a position that is going to be open to temptations of all sorts, this one is going to be it.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 5:01 pm:

    === I thought it was just the Lightfoot administration that were amateurs===

    You’d think with all the time the HGOP and SGOP have they woulda found this out, made hay of it, and tried to go after everyone.

    Looks like a lotta folks missed this one.

    Is it the amateur that did it, or that the others couldn’t find it on their own to exploit the boo-boo?

    That silly constitution. Ya can’t ignore it.

  11. - Seafood - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 5:33 pm:

    At least we now know that there are many pot smokers in the Gov’s Office. Let’s hope that there were no ethical lapses made in attempting to cover up this gigantic gaffe.

  12. - NIU Grad - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 5:42 pm:

    Just have the Deputy Illinois Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer be in the “acting” position for a while and have them reporting to the Gov advisor, which is how these things usually go anyways.

  13. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 6:03 pm:

    Wait till we see who the Gambling Czar is

  14. - Ccapilla - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 7:24 pm:

    Danny, that’s for overseeing the whole shebang, not just the testing program…

  15. - SSL - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 7:37 pm:

    Fire, aim, ready.

  16. - Sonny - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 8:47 pm:

    When you’re as high — on yourself — as the Pritzker all stars mistakes are going to happen.

  17. - DIstant watcher - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 9:32 pm:

    Assume half of that salary is from the state (and pensionsble) while the rest comes from JB’s foundation?

    Argue about the amount but his predecessor paid some people even more with state funds, and others have noted that the pay cut for public service is becoming too much for some quality people to take. This cannibis stuff is a brand new industry and someone who knows how the process should work is a real help at a key time. Just hope nothing serious goes wrong.

  18. - Been There - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 9:33 pm:

    ===No member of the General Assembly during the term for which he was elected…===
    Well, since they recently made the term committeeman into committeeperson, along with other positions, and she is a she and not a he, this does not apply. /s

  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 9:46 pm:


  20. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 10:18 pm:

    ==she is a she and not a he, this does not apply==

    I think that is a fair compromise; go ahead and make the appointment.

  21. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Dec 3, 19 @ 9:38 am:

    This is the problem
    with not empowering your
    senior enlisted (so to speak)
    Again, it seems (true, I don’t actual know)
    that Pritzker
    senior public sector technocrats/bureaucrats
    that are empowered to say
    “Sir you can’t do that”
    Private money can’t and shouldn’t
    pay for that.
    When you privately hire
    senior folks from the private sector
    even senior politicians from the public sector
    This is the product you get.

    You must find and empower
    senior bureaucrats/technocrats
    Those folks who watch like a hawk
    Who catch errors
    Who make the trains run on time.
    And most importantly
    Know what you can and cannot do.

    As OW wisely said “Personnel is Policy”

  22. - Shytown - Tuesday, Dec 3, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    I’m sorry but this is much to do about nothing. It never fails to amaze me how the women in this business get cut down so swiftly once they start to rise up. Hutchinson has more than proven her value. And $220k a year is not “ridiculous” if we want to compete with the private sector which can offer double these salaries to competent individuals.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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