Dianna Houenou serves as Chair of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, appointed by Governor Phil Murphy in 2021. As Chair, she works with other members of the Commission and the Executive Director to successfully stand up and operate New Jersey’s first agency to regulate the adult-use cannabis market.
Prior to her appointment, Dianna served as Senior Policy Advisor and Associate Counsel in the Governor’s Office, advising Governor Murphy on policy and legislative issues concerning criminal justice, military and veterans, community affairs, and immigrants’ rights. In that role, she was heavily involved in the establishment of New Jersey’s Office of New Americans and advancing the Administration’s criminal justice priorities, including expungement reform and cannabis legalization. She also supported multiple executive branch departments in developing and implementing legislation, executive orders, and new policy initiatives.
Before joining state government, Dianna was Policy Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ), where she developed legislative strategies for ACLU-NJ advocacy campaigns and led the organization’s coalitions advocating for cannabis legalization and Newark police reform. Evidence of her work with the ACLU-NJ can be found all across New Jersey: from the establishment of Fair and Welcoming policies in local towns and State government to the restoration of voting rights for people on probation and parole, and from the law requiring the Attorney General to investigate police-involved deaths to New Jersey’s path towards legalizing cannabis for adults with a focus on social justice.
Dianna earned her B.A. in Chemistry and Afro-American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.