Cannabis Industrial Marketplace

Joseph Wright

Co-Founder, NuSierra | Former Director of Illinois Medical Cannabis Program

Session Title: Illinois Cannabis Licensing: How to Win

Professional Summary

Joseph Wright is an attorney, former Congressional aide, and was appointed by the Governor of Illinois as the first Director of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program. Joseph co-founded and served as head of regulatory affairs for NuSierra, a Canadian-Colombian medical cannabis producer licensed to export globally. Joseph was the lead drafter for medical cannabis licensing applications in Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Colombia, Germany, and Canada.

Joseph successfully lead implementation of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program within six months of assuming the role of Director, authorizing Illinois’ first legal sales of cannabis. During Joseph’s tenure, the program grew exponentially; Illinois’ patient population expanded by 300% and retail sales recorded constant increases, surpassing $3 million per month.

Joseph co-drafted legislation amending and extending the Illinois medical cannabis program, developed and guided policy across eight state agencies, and was instrumental in creating industry compliance protocols, procedures, and guidance. Joseph spoke publicly to multiple industry groups, advocacy organizations, and media outlets about medical cannabis policy, regulation, and best practices. Joseph’s writing about medical cannabis regulation was featured in Crain’s Chicago Business, and Joseph was profiled by Chicago Magazine and National Public Radio.

Joseph served as an Assistant General Counsel for the Governor of Illinois—acting as legal liaison for the two main regulatory arms of the cannabis program—and oversaw the distribution of cultivation and dispensary licenses. Before becoming an attorney, Joseph served as a legislative aide to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In this role, Joseph developed policy, drafted speeches, and represented Members of Congress before constituents, industry groups, and advocacy organizations. Joseph drafted and guided legislation through the Congressional committee process to passage in the House of Representatives.

Session Abstract

Joseph Wright, the former Director of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program, will walk you through the complex world of cannabis licensing and regulation, discuss strategies and best practices for winning licenses, and provide an insider’s view on the most understood aspect of cannabis regulation; how to keep your regulator happy.

Topics will include: the elements of Illinois’s dispensary, processing, and cultivation applications; tips for scoring points, and how to find and secure property and personnel.