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California’s First Cannabis Czar Reflects On Her Time At The Helm As She Steps Down

Her replacement is Tamara Colson, the BCC’s current assistant chief counsel

In early 2016, Lori Ajax accepted the job of running the first-ever California agency dedicated to overseeing the state’s sprawling legal marijuana industry.

Since then, Ajax has broken considerable new ground as the chief of the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC).

She oversaw the historic rollout of California’s recreational marijuana market in 2018, spearheaded the writing of a wide range of cannabis regulations and appeared at scores of industry events to educate stakeholders and gather feedback.

Just short of her five-year anniversary in that position, Ajax decided it was time to step aside. Her retirement was announced Nov. 20.

Her replacement is Tamara Colson, the BCC’s current assistant chief counsel, who will serve as acting bureau chief.

Ajax – who didn’t shy from the limelight but also was never completely comfortable in its glare – was often considered a divisive figure in industry circles.

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