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Office of the Governor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Governor's Press Office
Tuesday, July 13, 2021 (916) 445-4571

Governor Newsom Announces Appointments

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments: 

 

Nicole Elliott, 36, of Sacramento, has been appointed Director of the California Department of Cannabis Control. Elliott has been the Governor’s Senior Advisor on Cannabis at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development since 2019. She was Director of the Office of Cannabis for the General Services Agency of the City and County of San Francisco from 2017 to 2019, where she served as Project Manager in 2017. Elliott held multiple positions in the Office of San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee from 2011 to 2017, including Director of Legislative and Government Affairs, Board Liaison, Director of Appointments and Commission Liaison. She held multiple positions in the Office of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom from 2009 to 2010, including Budget Office Policy Assistant, Director of Scheduling and Deputy Board Liaison. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $204,936. Elliott is a Democrat.

 

Rasha Salama, 44, of Sacramento, has been appointed Chief Deputy for the California Department of Cannabis Control. Salama has been Assistant Branch Chief of the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch at the California Department of Public Health since 2016. She has served in several positions at the Department of Public Health since 2010, including as Staff Services Manager II for the Maternal Child Adolescent Health Division, Health Program Specialist I in the Center for Environmental Health, Associate Accounting Analyst with the Drinking Water Program and Associate Accounting Analyst in the Resource Management Section. Salama earned a Master of Arts degree in business and community development from California State University, Sacramento. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $172,512. Salama is a Democrat.

 

Matthew Lee, 35, of Sacramento, has been appointed General Counsel for the California Department of Cannabis Control. Lee served as Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary for the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom from 2019 to 2021. He was Deputy City Attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office from 2016 to 2019. Lee served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Vince Chhabria at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California from 2015 to 2016, Law Clerk for the Honorable Michelle T. Friedland at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 2014 to 2015 and Law Clerk for the Honorable Harry Pregerson at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 2013 to 2014. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School and a Master of Philosophy degree in modern Middle Eastern studies from the University of Oxford. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $181,416. Lee is a Democrat.

 

Tamara Colson, 49, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of Legal at the California Department of Cannabis Control. Colson has been Assistant Chief Counsel of the Bureau of Cannabis Control since 2016. She was Assistant General Counsel at the California Department of Consumer Affairs from 2014 to 2016, Chief Prosecuting Counsel at the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control from 2011 to 2014 and Special Assistant Inspector General in the California Office of the Inspector General from 2006 to 2011. Colson was Administrative Law Judge at the California Office of Administrative Hearings from 2005 to 2006, Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 1999 to 2005 and an Associate at Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann and Girard from 1997 to 1999. Colson earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $193,920. Colson is a Republican.

 

Eugene Hillsman, 41, of Oakland, has been appointed Deputy Director of Equity and Inclusion for the California Department of Cannabis Control. Hillsman has been Deputy Director of the Office of Cannabis for the City and County of San Francisco since 2018. He was Assistant Program Officer for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation from 2005 to 2008, where he was Program Assistant from 2004 to 2005. Hillsman earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in history and a Master of Public Affairs degree from Princeton University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $154,836. Hillsman is a Democrat.

 

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Governor Gavin Newsom
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814


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