WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 17, 2022 – PRESS RELEASE – Veteran cannabis industry executive and entrepreneurial venture capital/investment expert Deborah Johnson will take the reins of Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation (CFCR) as Interim Executive Director Sarah Chase transitions to a new leadership position.

Chase helped guide the organization from infancy to its position today where CFCR is recognized as a leading voice with FDA as the agency works to develop a regulatory framework for cannabis products.

“It’s been my pleasure to work with Sheri Orlowitz, the founder and visionary behind CFCR, our board and our members to help develop CFCR’s expertise to become the ‘go to’ organization on regulation and a convenor that brings together regulators and stakeholders,” Chase said. “As evidenced by the sea change we are now seeing with federal agencies’ increasing receptivity to policy changes on medical and recreational cannabis use, federal research on the health and wellness potential of cannabis, and criminal justice reforms, CFCR has made a considerable impact by becoming a trusted adviser and guide to regulators.”

Johnson, previously CFCR’s director of community, sees the next phase of CFCR’s mission as elucidating and helping the cannabis industry understand and meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements to establish the safety of cannabinoids, followed by an expansion of CFCR’s focus beyond FDA, to the Small Business Administration (SBA). CFCR’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative is to create opportunity for underserved community members and former nonviolent felons by demystifying and guiding access to capital, services, mentorship, grants and more through SBA.

“I’m honored to serve at CFCR, such a unique nonprofit that has convened well-respected former government leaders, and science, policy, business and DEI experts from outside and inside the cannabis industry and committee members with rare skill sets to work with federal regulators,” Johnson said. “As an umbrella organization, CFCR’s leaders from pharma, stock exchange listed companies, patient advocacy groups, technology leaders, cannabis industry leaders and more, provide the diversity of thought and perspective regulators need as they develop their strategy to facilitate a safe and accessible industry that maximizes the cannabis plant’s medicinal and wellness properties. It’s exciting to be at the helm of an organization that can truly influence the development and direction towards a healthy cannabis ecosystem.”

Johnson brings to the CFCR leadership role extensive knowledge and far-reaching networks in the fields of entrepreneurship and early-stage investments in the technology, life sciences and consumer products industries with a focus on cannabis and hemp. Well experienced in program and partner development, Johnson has directed investor relations for angels, family offices and funds in both cannabis and traditional markets. In her prior positions, Johnson was the investor engagement director for the Arcview Group & Arcview Advisors and a Chapter President of the well-known Keiretsu Forum, an accredited angel investor network dispersed throughout 53 chapters on four continents.

“On behalf of the board, volunteer staff and members of CFCR, it is my pleasure to welcome the steady focused hand of Deborah Johnson. I know Deborah to have exceptional integrity and a can-do attitude that engenders confidence, commitment and trust,” said Sheri Orlowitz, Board Chair and Founder of CFCR.

The transition will formally take place on Nov. 1. For additional information, visit uscfcr.org.


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