Three finalists named for cannabis commission director

The head of the Children’s League of Massachusetts, the state treasurer’s chief policy and legislative adviser, and an economic and policy analyst from Rhode Island state government are the three finalists for the job of executive director of the Cannabis Control Commission.

The commission will interview Erin Bradley, executive director of the Children’s League of Massachusetts; Shawn Collins, assistant treasurer and director of policy and legislative affairs; and Norman Birenbaum, a principal analyst at the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, in public on Tuesday.

The panel is expected to pick its preferred candidate on Thursday.


Bradley joined the Children’s League in 2011 after having worked as a coordinator for the Children’s Mental Health Campaign and as a policy analyst for Senator Karen Spilka, an Ashland Democrat. Bradley has also worked as assistant photo editor at the Chicago Sun-Times and as a photojournalist for the Boston Herald, according to her biography on the Children’s League website.

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Collins has been Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s point person on pot since voters legalized the drug last year and had begun to prepare a regulatory structure for the new industry until oversight of marijuana was removed from the treasurer’s direct auspices. Collins previously worked as chief of staff and general counsel to Senator Richard Moore, an Uxbridge Democrat, and served as chairman of the Webster School Committee.

A Newton native, Birenbaum has been responsible for setting up a regulatory environment for medical marijuana in Rhode Island. Before decamping to the Ocean State, Birenbaum worked as a regional field director for Deval Patrick’s 2010 reelection campaign, served as Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray’s personal assistant, worked on US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign and then as a regional director for Warren’s Senate office, according to his LinkedIn profile.

For its first executive director, the commission is looking for someone who has experience working in regulated industries and a strong knowledge of Massachusetts’ legal marijuana law. The commission will meet at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at One Ashburton Place to conduct public interviews with the finalists.