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Andrew Freedman pot czar legal marijuana
Colorado state government's pot czar, Andrew Freedman. (hightimes.com)
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‘Marijuana czar’ moves on, will put expertise to work for other states

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Colorado’s so-called “marijuana czar” is stepping down.

Andrew Freedman, Director of Marijuana Coordination, has started a consulting firm, which will assist governments in implementing legalization. Freedman is joined at the new firm, Freedman & Koski, by Lewis Koski, the deputy senior director of enforcement for the Department of Revenue, where Koski works on casino gambling, liquor enforcement, racing, auto industries and marijuana legalization.

Freedman said Koski will remain with the department while their new firm gets off the ground, though Koski won’t be doing marijuana work for the department in the interim.

“Though I have often worked on some of the more divisive policies in Colorado politics, I have been amazed by the ability of Coloradans and this administration to come together to make sure we implement these policies in a way that benefits all of us,” Freedman said in a statement announcing his departure. “The governor and Colorado have taught me that good government matters, and I will forever be grateful for that lesson.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper, who opposed marijuana legalization in 2012, created the position of Director of Marijuana Coordination, hiring Freedman in January 2014, with the goal of coordinating the state’s efforts implementing legalization.

The governor has asked to end the Office of Marijuana Coordination, which was only intended to assist with the implementation of a legalized system. The responsibilities of the Director of Marijuana Coordination moving forward will be handled by the governor’s senior deputy legal counsel, Mark Bolton.

Freedman will remain on staff part-time to aid in the transition.

“Andrew Freedman has done a remarkable job shepherding Colorado through one of the great social experiments of this decade,” Hickenlooper said. “I think he has an invaluable expertise to support and assist other states as they work through issues of good government, public health and public safety.

“I believe he can serve as a connection between these states so we can all share lessons learned and communicate effectively with the federal government.”

Before assisting with creating the world’s first regulatory structure for marijuana—an overwhelming undertaking—Freedman served as chief of staff to former Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia. Freedman left as chief of staff in July 2013 to become the campaign director for the failed 2013 Amendment 66 campaign, which sought to raise nearly $1 billion in taxes for schools.

 

 

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