Andrew Freedman Leaving Post as Colorado's Director of Marijuana Coordination

Andrew Freedman at a marijuana management symposium this fall.
Andrew Freedman at a marijuana management symposium this fall. Kate McKee Simmons
Andrew Freedman is moving on from his position as Colorado's Director of Marijuana Coordination, Governor John Hickenlooper announced on January 5.

Freedman will still be involved with the cannabis industry and constructing policy: He's launching a consulting firm, Freedman & Koski LLC, which will advise state and local governments on the implementation of marijuana legalization. (The firm's website is already live, and packed with pot info.)

After working as Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia's chief of staff from 2011 to 2013, Freedman became the campaign director for Yes on 66: Colorado Commits to Kids; from there, Hickenlooper hired Freedman to head up the state's marijuana coordination office.

Freedman, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was charged with helping to create the first regulatory framework for recreational marijuana in the country. He organized the different state departments that each had a hand in making sure legalization went off without a hitch, and he coordinated the effort to implement effective regulations while educating the public and maintaining public health and safety.

"Andrew Freedman has done a remarkable job shepherding Colorado through one of the great social experiments of this decade," Hickenlooper said in a statement. "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."

The announcement of Freedman's departure comes on the heels of Hickenlooper's budget request that the Office of Marijuana Coordination close at the end of this year. The office was intended to roll out the legalization that voters approved in November 2012, and now that the state has a recreational framework in place, the duties of the office will be handled by the governor's senior deputy legal counsel, Mark Bolton.

"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 the statement announcing his departure.

Earlier this week, we talked with Freedman about a report that Massachusetts was looking at him for a possible position implementing marijuana legalization in that state. Given that his office was set to expire, Freeman told us, "I will entertain options for the next steps in my life."

Looks like he's taken that first step.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kate McKee Simmons interned at the National Catholic Reporter, was a reporter for the New York Post, and spent a brief stint in Israel learning international reporting before writing for Westword.