Shake Up at MPP: Hawkins Out, Hutchinson In

Toi Hutchinson (left), Steve Hawkins (right)

Marijuana Policy Project has a new president and CEO, Toi Hutchinson. She replaces Steve Hawkins, who was executive director since 2018. Hutchinson is the first Black woman to head the organization.

In a press release issued by MPP, Hawkins stated: “I'm proud of what we have accomplished at MPP and look forward to working alongside Toi in the fight to end cannabis prohibition."

Hawkins has had a dual role as United States Cannabis Council (USCC) president and CEO. He now will exclusively lead USCC. "The MPP played a pivotal role in incubating USCC, and we are now taking that work to the next level," Hawkins added. "Toi is an incredible leader, and I know that our organizations will work tirelessly to advance our shared goals.”

Hutchinson was Illinois's first "cannabis czar." She previoulsy served as an Illinois state senator and an attorney at the Chapman and Cutler law firm.

“Toi’s unique resume is perfectly suited to lead MPP as we finish our reform work state-by-state across the country,” MPP Board Chairman Sal Pace noted. “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.

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Steve Hawkins’ work at MPP was stellar and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity along with legislators and partners across the country to advance the goals and mission of MPP by harnessing our collective power to advocate for changes to federal cannabis policies. These past four years have been the most productive years yet for marijuana reform. MPP will continue to work with Steve as a member organization of USCC, including continuing to share some staff between the two organizations."

Under Hawkins watch, numerous states legalized cannabis, including New York, New Jersey, Arizona, New Mexico and Connecticut.

Toi Hutchinson commented: “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. We're 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." 


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.