The Denver Accise and Licenses Director resigns

Denver Department of Excise and Licenses CEO Ashley Kilroy will leave her role in January, according to a joint statement from Excise and Licenses and Mayor Michael Hancock’s office.

Kilroy is a licensed attorney and has worked for the Denver Police, Sheriff and Fire Department as well as the Denver City Attorneys Office, Denver Public Schools and Washington County Attorneys Office. She began working on excise duties and licenses in 2014, where she served as the department’s director of marijuana policy during the first year of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado; she was named CEO in 2016.

Deputy Director of Excise and Licenses, Molly Duplechain, will become interim CEO of Kilroy’s absence, according to the city. Kilroy says she is taking a longer break to be with her family without any return or retirement date set.

“When the mayor asked me to act as the first director of the agency that oversees the marijuana rules in Denver, I knew it would be a big challenge,” Kilroy said in a statement. “I am proud of what we have achieved together and will stand ready to assist Mayor Hancock in the future after taking a delayed break from public service to spend more time with my family.”

Denver has become home to nearly 220 pharmacies under excise duties and licenses, and it does not include the more than 300 marijuana cultivators, extractors, product manufacturers and other licensed pottery companies in the city. From 2014 to 2020, Denver’s marijuana tax revenue more than tripled, going from $ 21.9 million in 2014 to over $ 70.3 million in 2020. During his time as CEO, Kilroy also helped oversee the creation of Denver’s Social Equity License Program for Marijuana Entrepreneurs. which prioritize business owners from communities affected by the war on drugs.

Kilroy’s tenure also faced several challenges. Despite being the first city in the country to approve a licensing system for marijuana-friendly establishments, Denver has approved only two marijuana lounges under Kilroy’s guard, while private, unlicensed potty clubs and tour companies continue to bring together most of Denver’s marijuana tourism. The city’s marijuana social equity program has also been criticized for being too little, too late, as the current saturation of marijuana companies limits new licensing opportunities for potential entrepreneurs.

The biggest marijuana-related challenge for excise duties and licenses may have been in 2018, when one of Denver’s largest pharmacy chains, Sweet Leaf, was attacked by state and local law enforcement for illegal marijuana sales. In response, Excise and Licenses quickly revoked all 26 of Sweet Leaf’s business licenses in Denver – a move that held up on appeal and was repeated by other local governments in which Sweet Leaf operated. (Sweet Leaf eventually lost production licenses for all of its dispensing, growing, and infused products in Colorado, and the company’s three co-owners and two directors were sentenced to prison terms.)

Kilroy’s work on excise duties and licenses was not only marijuana-related. During her time as CEO, she also oversaw local liquor licenses – a critical component of the city’s brewing scene – and the creation of Denver’s first rules for short-term rental properties.

In a statement announcing Kilroy’s resignation, Hancock praised her work in his administration.

“Throughout her time in the public service, Ashley has been a critical part of my and other administrations’ efforts to promote a business environment that provides justice for all, improves public safety and streamlines rules. And she was groundbreaking for a new frontier as we became the first urban marijuana regulator in the world, and the Denver model is seen today as the standard, Hancock said in a statement. been a critical part of my administration since I took office. Her innovative leadership and dedication, which I have trusted, will be greatly missed, but our city is where it is today because she responded to the call to serve. ”

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