From Policy Maker to Corporate Profits: Colorado’s Regulation Leaders Go Private

Some of Colorado’s most powerful cannabis regulators are leaving to start a private consulting firm, which brings up some big ethical questions.


Let’s say that I was in charge of laws regarding cotton candy. For years I helped decide the allowable types of cotton candy, it’s production, sales and consumption – as well as who, when, where, how and why. After I had set up the cotton candy game rules just the way I liked them, I then left my public position to make money off of cotton candy sales. At that point you might be wondering if I had been rigging the cotton candy game all these years just so I would have an advantage in it later. That would be a reasonable conclusion.

It is probably no less reasonable to conclude that key players in Colorado’s marijuana game seem to be now entering the game they rigged for themselves.

From The Coloradoan:

Colorado’s top marijuana regulators are starting a private consulting business.

The marijuana coordinator for Gov. John Hickenlooper and the head of the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division say they are leaving state government to offer their services to other clients.

Andrew Freedman was tapped by Hickenlooper to coordinate administrative agencies that oversee marijuana, from the state Health Department to the Department of Agriculture.

Lewis Koski (COSS-kee) is head of the Marijuana Enforcement Division, which collects pot taxes and regulates companies that grow and sell it.

The departures announced Thursday aren’t unexpected. The governor’s pot coordination office was started two years ago as a short-term catch-all for the newly legal drug. And Koski is not the first division chief to head into private consulting.

Colorado cannabis policy makers have made the game rules so complex that only they can navigate them, and now they plan to sell maps to the highest bidders, further prodding the states trend towards Cannabis Corporatism©.

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