The former executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has joined one of the marijuana companies she was previously tasked with regulating.

Joy Strand served as head of the 16-member regulatory board for almost two years before resigning effective Oct. 1, 2019, after spending almost two months on medical leave. William Tilburg, policy and government affairs director at the commission, was named as acting executive director and last month he landed the top job on a permanent basis.

Strand is now in charge of government relations at medical cannabis company Green Leaf, one of 17 growers she previously regulated. The firm is known for its gLeaf brand and it has operations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio, while it has also applied for a vertical license in New Jersey.

It has already hired former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as a senior adviser and consultant. Nutter was initially opposed to the liberalization of cannabis laws in the city before eventually relenting and signing a decriminalization bill.

Strand will now team up with Nutter to help expand the company’s footprint in other states, according to local reports. She will also represent the gLeaf brand at industry events.

In a statement, Green Leaf chief executive Philip Goldberg “background in healthcare and patient safety, coupled with her expertise in organizational leadership will offer significant contributions to gLeaf as we continue to provide high-quality medical cannabis, and as our business continues to expand.”

Strand was formerly chief operating officer at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, administrator at Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Michigan and chief executive at McCready Health – a network of medical care facilities serving the Lower Eastern Shore – before taking the job at MMCA.

She started working on the day that the first dispensaries began selling medical cannabis products in Maryland, Dec. 1, 2017, and oversaw a period of strong growth for the nascent industry. When she retired, MMCC chair Brian Lopez hailed her leadership and said she turned the program into one of nation’s leaders in safety and quality.

The terms of the existing 16 commissioners came to an end on Sep. 30, 2019. Gov. Larry Hogan reappointed some, but the number of commissioners was reduced from 16 to 13 under the terms of HB 2. However, Strand’s resignation was not required as part of those changes.

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