Though he hasn't stepped down yet, the effective head of the state's Medical Cannabis Program has resigned.
Dominick Zurlo, the program's harm reduction program manager, will be out within a few weeks, according to Department of Health spokeswoman Aimee Barabe. The decision came two weeks ago. Barabe wouldn't give a reason for the resignation, saying she "can't comment on personnel issues."
Zurlo maintained his role through administration changes last January. Throughout his tenure, the program faced significant supply shortages and renewal backlogs. It recently hired five temporary workers to help patients renew their licenses.
"He did the best he could under difficult circumstances," Melissa Milam, who used to be in charge of the program, tells SFR.
To date, the program has evaded federal crackdowns like those in Colorado, California and Washington State.
Emily Kaltenbach, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, says Zurlo's background in harm reduction and health were keys to his success at the job.
"I hope they will be thoughtful in who takes his place," Kaltenbach tells SFR. "They'll hopefully choose someone that understands the program well."
Zurlo's successor will be chosen through "standard hiring procedures," Barabe tells SFR.