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(WHNT) — State Treasurer John McMillan will lead the Alabama Medical Cannabis Coalition as the organization’s first executive director.

According to our news partners at, McMillan has more than 40 years of state government experience.

He was first elected state treasurer in 2018 after serving two terms as Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries. Prior to serving in statewide elected office, McMillan was commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, served on the State Personnel Board, and was a member of the Alabama House of Representatives.

“This is an opportunity to start something from scratch and get it right and see it bloom,” McMillan told “It’s like somebody handing you a blank sheet of paper and a hundred-page piece of legislation and saying, go start this agency with no money, no office, no telephone, nothing at this point.”

Governor Kay Ivey is expected to appoint a successor to serve out the rest of McMillan’s term in the coming weeks.

The program is designed to be self-funded with a 9% tax on gross sales of medical cannabis products, as well as taxes paid by licensed businesses.

The 14-member commission set McMillan’s salary at $210,000 per year.

“He just had a wealth of knowledge, over 40 years in state government, working at so many agencies just gave him a leg up,” said Dwight Gamble, a member of the Medical Cannabis Commission.

Gamble told that McMillan was selected over 14 other applicants, including Drew Nelson, an epidemiologist and director of networks and quality assurance with the Alabama Medicaid Agency, and Dr. Kelli Littlejohn Newman, the Medicaid Agency’s director of clinical services and support.

Alabama became the 37th state in the union to legalize medical cannabis products earlier this year.