Leadership

Lori Ajax – Chief

In February 2016, Governor Brown appointed Chief Ajax as the first Chief of the newly formed Bureau of Cannabis Control. Prior to her appointment, Chief Ajax served as Chief Deputy Director at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control where she spent 22 years working her way up the ranks, starting at the investigator trainee level. Ajax spent ten years in private industry prior to her state government career. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Sacramento.


Melanie V. Ramil – Deputy Chief

Melanie V. Ramil was appointed as deputy chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control on August 23, 2017. Ramil had been deputy state director in the Office of U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris since January 2017. She was chief of external affairs in the Community Programs and Policy Initiatives Branch at the California Department of Insurance from 2013 to 2017, where she served as special assistant to the insurance commissioner from 2011 to 2013. Ramil was a field representative in the Office of California State Assemblymember Dave Jones from 2006 to 2011 and an intern at the California State Assembly Asian and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus from 2005 to 2006.


Connie Bouvia – Assistant Chief of Licensing

Connie Bouvia has held multiple positions at the Department of Consumer Affairs since 1985. She served as an enforcement representative performing a variety of types of investigations including reactive, proactive and application for the Contractors State License Board from 1987 to 2005. Since 2005 Bouvia has served in various management positions including Intake/Mediation Supervisor (2005 to 2008) and Program Manager of the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (2013 to 2014) at Contractors State License Board, Enforcement Chief at Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (2011 to 2013) and Deputy Chief at Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (2008 to 2011 and 2014 to 2016). In March 2017, she was hired as Assistant Chief of Licensing at the Bureau of Cannabis Control.


Tamara Colson – Assistant Chief Counsel

Tamara Colson was appointed Assistant Chief Counsel for the Bureau of Cannabis Control on May 4, 2016. She had been Assistant General Counsel at the California Department of Consumer Affairs since 2014. Previously, she was Chief Prosecuting Counsel at the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control from 2011 to 2014, Special Assistant Inspector General in the California Office of the Inspector General from 2006 to 2011, and an Administrative Law Judge at the California Office of Administrative Hearings from 2005 to 2006. Ms. Colson also served as Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 1999 to 2005 and was an associate attorney at Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann and Girard from 1997 to 1999. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law.


Ricardo V. DeLaCruz – Assistant Chief of Administration

Ricardo V. DeLaCruz was appointed as assistant chief of administration at the Bureau of Cannabis Control on August 23, 2017. DeLaCruz had been human resource chief at the California Department of Consumer Affairs since 2015. He was personnel officer at the California Department of Rehabilitation from 2014 to 2015 and served in several positions at the California Department of Motor Vehicles from 2006 to 2014, including personnel specialist, human resource analyst and human resource manager.


Andre Jones – Assistant Chief of External and Intergovernmental Affairs

Andre Jones was appointed as assistant chief of external and intergovernmental affairs at the Bureau of Cannabis Control on August 23, 2017. Jones had been a regional director at the California Charter Schools Association since 2016. He was chief of staff in the Office of Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan from 2008 to 2016, executive director at the Hearts and Minds Alliance from 2004 to 2007, a senior account executive at Solem and Associates from 1999 to 2001, a senior associate at Martin and Glantz from 1997 to 1999, a campaign consultant for the San Francisco 49ers from 1996 to 1997, Bay Area campaign director at Progressive Campaigns from 1994 to 1996 and a labor organizer and recruiter for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations from 1993 to 1994.


Alex Traverso — Assistant Chief of Communications

Alex Traverso was appointed Assistant Chief of Communications at the Bureau of Cannabis Control at the California Department of Consumer Affairs on November 1, 2016. He had been Assistant Deputy Director of Corporate Communications at the California State Lottery since 2008. He had also previously served as Communications Director in the Office of California State Assemblymember Lloyd Levine from 2006 to 2008; Deputy Press Secretary in the Office of California State Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez from 2004 to 2006; Public Relations Manager at the California Exposition and State Fair from 2003 to 2004; and Assistant Press Secretary in the Office of the Governor from 1999 to 2003. Mr. Traverso earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California, Davis.


Paul Tupy – Assistant Chief of Enforcement

Paul Tupy began his position as Assistant Chief of Enforcement with the Bureau in June of 2017. Prior to working for the Bureau, he worked for the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for eight years. Tupy has held various law enforcement positions over his 18 year career in law enforcement, both at the state and local level.