Industry Veteran Deborah Johnson Takes the Reins at Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation (CFCR)

3.2 min readPublished On: October 17th, 2022By

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 17, 2022)  Veteran cannabis industry executive and entrepreneurial VC / investment expert Deborah Johnson will take the reins of CFCR as Interim Executive Director as Sarah Chase transitions to a new leadership position.

Chase helped guide the organization from infancy to its position today where the Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation (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 advisor 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 DEI initiative is to create opportunity for underserved community members and former non-violent 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 non-profit 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.  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, Deborah 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 Tuesday, November 1. For additional information, please visit


The Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation (CFCR) is 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Washington, DC. The mission of CFCR is to assist the government, and specifically federal regulatory agencies, to rethink, develop, and implement evidence-based cannabis regulations. Our overarching goal is the de-stigmatization, normalization, and legitimization of cannabis on behalf of consumers, the professions, organizations, and businesses who support and serve them. We do this by serving as a conduit for informed scientific research, inclusive education, and by mainstreaming the best practices that enable the industry to maximize its potential. For additional information please visit and follow us on social media @USCFCR.

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