Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH), a multi-state, vertically integrated cannabis operator, today announced that T. Andrew Brown, founder and managing partner of Brown Hutchinson LLP, has been appointed president of AWH New York, effective immediately.
Mr. Brown will put his more than 35 years of experience in the legal and government sectors to work in building relationships with state and local elected officials, the Office of Cannabis Management, and industry stakeholders, while spearheading AWH’s efforts to ensure communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition benefit significantly from the Empire State cannabis program.
Pending regulatory approval, AWH is investing in MedMen NY, Inc.’s four existing medical cannabis dispensaries and its cultivation and processing facility. In the short term, AWH will focus on expanding patients’ access to the medications that dramatically improve their quality of life and ease the pain and discomfort caused by a wide variety of ailments and illnesses. Once the state signs off on its plans, AWH will ramp up its efforts to expand into New York’s burgeoning adult-use cannabis market.
“Appointing Andrew Brown is a critical next step to completing this transition prior to the end of 2021, and underscores the significant investment we will make in the Empire State,” said AWH Founder and CEO Abner Kurtin. “In the coming months, AWH will create good-paying jobs while prioritizing equity and providing both patients and adult-use consumers with the high-quality cannabis products for which we are known.”
“AWH has played a key role in shaping the East Coast cannabis market, and I look forward to helping it as a leading player in one of the nation’s most important adult-use markets,” said Mr. Brown. “Over my decades of experience in New York – both as a private practice attorney and in the public sector – I have seen firsthand how the War on Drugs has targeted communities of color, leaving deep financial, social, cultural, and economic wounds that have yet to heal. It is morally incumbent on the cannabis industry to help undo that damage. I applaud AWH’s commitment to social justice, and will further its efforts to demonstrate the positive impact of merging strategic business practices with robust social equity programs.”
“Andrew Brown brings a deep knowledge and understanding of New York government, law, and policy to the AWH team, and we are thrilled to have him at the helm as we expand our operations,” said Andrea Cabral, Massachusetts CEO of AWH. “He has proven himself as a genuine ally among industry advocates, and as president of the New York State Bar Association, helped shape New York’s Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), which is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most progressive, equity-focused examples of cannabis legislation.”
Mr. Brown joins AWH with decades of experience in both the private and public sectors, providing general counsel and representing legal clients at all phases of trial – including Fortune 500 companies, small business, banks, nonprofits and hospitals. Previously, he served as Rochester’s chief legal officer and head of its law department.
Mr. Brown currently serves as the President of the New York State Bar Association and previously was the general counsel of the National Bar Association – the largest association of attorneys and judges of color in the world. For nine years, he was a member of the state’s Board of Regents, which provides general supervision of all educational activities within the state.