Marijuana Facts

Jared Polis taps marijuana industry veteran to lead Colorado pot policy. It’s a notable change.

For the first time since Colorado voters approved legalized marijuana five years ago, an industry person will be in charge of policy in the statehouse.

Gov. Jared Polis recently hired Ean Seeb, a founding partner at a cannabis business consulting firm, to serve as his special adviser on cannabis.

“Ean is a leader in the cannabis industry and we are thrilled to have him on our team,” Polis’ chief of staff Lisa Kaufmann said in a statement. “We welcome his incredible expertise and know he will help us continue Colorado’s leadership in this growing industry.”

The move to hire a marijuana industry veteran marks a notable change from the previous administration, which tapped people from politics or law enforcement. Industry watchers say the hire is a win for the pro-marijuana camp.

“To move from someone with a law enforcement background to an industry mindset is significant,” said Sam Kamin, a professor of marijuana law and policy at the University of Denver.

Before starting his new gig two weeks ago, Seeb was co-owner and manager of Denver Relief Consulting — along with one-time mayoral candidate Kayvan Khalatbari — and previously operated a cannabis dispensary. He was also a two-time chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association, according to his Denver Relief bio.

Seeb will serve as the governor’s adviser for marijuana bills going through the legislature and be a liaison with the department of revenue, which oversees marijuana enforcement, among other state agencies.

Seeb follows three others who held similar positions under former Gov. John Hickenlooper: Andrew Freedman — the first country’s first “marijuana czar” — Mark Bolton and Dominique Mendiola.

“To have a person (from the industry) who has the governor’s ear would be a break from the past,” Kamin said. “Hickenlooper was not anyone in the industry’s favorite, I don’t think.”