Shaleen Title | Drug Policy Activist and Attorney
Shaleen Title is an Indian-American drug policy activist and attorney who served from 2017 through 2020 as one of five commissioners on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, the agency tasked with regulating legal and medical marijuana in the commonwealth. Described as “the people’s weed watchdog” in Boston Magazine’s 2019 Power List, she has won several awards for her advocacy work and her efforts to make the cannabis industry more fair and inclusive.
Previously, she co-founded THC Staffing, a cannabis recruiting firm focused on equality and inclusion. As an attorney specializing in marijuana regulations, she has provided regulatory expertise for leading marijuana consulting firms including 4Front Advisors and Vicente Sederberg. She co-authored the Massachusetts marijuana legalization referendum and has consulted on state and local cannabis policy around the country, including serving as a senior staffer for the historic Colorado Amendment 64 campaign.
In her role as a founding board member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, Shaleen led the creation of the MCBA Model Bill, the first state-level model bill created to give states guidance to implement a process of reinvestment and reconciliation. She also served as a trustee for Students for Sensible Drug Policy, a founding board member of Marijuana Majority, and a board member of the Family Law and Cannabis Alliance as well as the National Lawyers Guild.
Shaleen holds a business degree, law degree, and graduate degree in accounting from the University of Illinois and was previously a part of the multistate tax group at Deloitte Tax. She lives in the Boston area.
When building the cannabis industry from the ground up, why is gender parity (having at least 50% women) so important?
Equality is particularly important in the cannabis industry because we’ll never again have an opportunity to make this kind of social impact. Cannabis is the fastest-growest industry in the country; if we can commit to equality now, imagine how different the group of top-level owners and executives will look ten or twenty years down the road compared to all the other industries.
What social justice and/or criminal justice reforms do you want the US to make around its drug policy, particularly cannabis/marijuana?
I want the US to encourage economic justice alongside criminal justice. This means not only do we stop destroying communities through prohibition, we also allow those same communities a voice and a role in the new regulated market.
Why are environmentally sustainable business practices essential to the future of the cannabis industry?
Now that the cannabis industry is moving from underground to above-ground, environmentally sustainable practices are a top priority. They’re a good business practice; cannabis consumers tend to care about the environment and likely prefer to give their dollars to companies who share the same values.
How do you incorporate gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability into your work and the growth of your business/organization?
The founders of THC Staffing Group started the company because we are committed to making sure everyone feel welcome in the industry. We set an example through inclusive hiring practices and advocacy for policies that positively impact communities harmed by drug prohibition.