Denver Moves Marijuana Policy Division, Promotes Director Ashley Kilroy

Ashley Kilroy, Denver's director of marijuana policy, speaks at the 2016 Marijuana Management Symposium.EXPAND
Ashley Kilroy, Denver's director of marijuana policy, speaks at the 2016 Marijuana Management Symposium.
Kate McKee Simmons

Mayor Michael Hancock announced Monday that Ashley Kilroy will be adding a new job title to her resume.

In addition to serving as the city's executive director of the Office of Marijuana Policy, she will replace Stacie Loucks as the director of Excise and Licenses, the central business-licensing department for the City and County of Denver. The Office of Marijuana Policy will become a division of Excise and Licenses, which has long handled licensing for dispensaries.

Kilroy's experience in implementing the city's policies after voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana four years ago makes her an ideal choice, according to Hancock. "The department will be in good hands with Ashley," he said in making the announcement. "She has served this great city for a number of years in various capacities, most recently as our navigator in the uncharted waters of legal recreational marijuana."

This promotion puts Kilroy in the mayor's cabinet.

Last week, Kilroy spearheaded Denver's second Marijuana Management Symposium, which attracted attendees from around the world. The city decided to create a management symposium in 2015, after Denver received so many questions from other municipalities curious about how to handle cannabis. Given all the interest, Kilroy said, it made sense to hold a symposium and answer all the questions at once in a social setting.

At the symposium, she quoted an article by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center in her opening comments: "Marijuana policy should not be frozen into its initial design... There is no recipe for marijuana legalization, nor are there working models of established fully legalized marijuana markets. It must be expected that any set of initial choices will need to be reconsidered in the light of experience, new knowledge, and changing conditions."

That ability to adapt and change conditions is the reason that Kilroy was chosen for this new role in his administration, Hancock explained. “We brought her in to create better processes for our neighborhoods and businesses, and in her time she has exceeded expectations by streamlining licensing processes, creating efficiencies and cutting red tape to provide stellar customer service," he said.

Before taking on the challenges of regulating pot, Kilroy served in the Denver City Attorney's Office, on the Career Service Board, and at the Department of Safety.

In the announcement of her new job, Kilroy said that she is excited to continue the "innovative, collaborative approach to licensing" she employed while heading up the marijuana division.


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