Cannabis Control Commission picks Hilton-Creek as acting executive director

Cannabis regulators decided Monday to appoint their head of human resources as acting executive director of the Cannabis Control Commission while its administrative head is out on leave and as important business continues at the CCC.

Chief People Officer Debra Hilton-Creek will serve as acting executive director of the CCC "until the return of" Executive Director Shawn Collins, who is out on parental leave. Acting Chair Ava Callender Concepcion nominated Hilton-Creek, a relative newcomer to the CCC, for the position and said it would be "for the next few months moving forward."

The unanimous vote of the four active commissioners Monday provides an added measure of certainty around one of two CCC leadership positions. Concepcion is serving as acting chair of the CCC until at least Nov. 9 as suspended Chairwoman Shannon O'Brien fights Treasurer Deborah Goldberg's suspension in court.

"Debbie is a military veteran, a human resources practitioner with over 25 years of management and organizational leadership experience, and as evidenced in our last meeting, she has really gotten up to speed on our policies and procedures here at the commission in a really impressive amount of time," Concepcion said. "And she also brings a fresh lens with a focus on the people, the culture and the best practices for organizational operations."

Commissioners said they were comfortable with Hilton-Creek as the interim administrative head of the agency, particularly as the CCC prepares for the fiscal year 2025 budget process and continues to work on important regulatory matters, like the eventual rollout of venues where adults will be allowed to consume cannabis on-site.

"I guess all I can say is wow. This is really an incredible opportunity," Hilton-Creek said. "Am I a little bit scared? Of course. Am I worried? No, because I do have an incredible team. We have an incredible team and every day I interact with them, it reminds me of the work that we're doing here and how important we are as an agency. So I am not worried. I'm a little bit scared. But again, with the people that are here, there's no doubt in my mind that a collaborative effort will get us through this next few months."


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