CANNABIS LEGALIZATION IS ONE OF THE GREAT SOCIAL AND POLITICAL EXPERIMENTS OF THE CENTURY

Cannabis Public Policy Consulting ensures successful implementation.

We work with government, research institutions, communities and private businesses to get legalization right.

Cannabis legalization has outpaced the capacity of state and local governments to implement it effectively.

Governments in newly legalized states face a staggering number of questions and uncertainties.

Governments need to work with private enterprises to provide solutions for data, financing, banking, and compliance.

State and local governments simply don't have access to the expertise they need to succeed.

80+ MILLION PEOPLE

now live in a state with legalized adult-use cannabis

33 STATES

now have legalized medical cannabis

There are only a handful of experts on cannabis legalization specializing in implementation.

 

CANNABIS LEGALIZATION

 

OUR TEAM OF EXPERTS

We are the world's leading experts in cannabis legalization.

Andrew Freedman  Director

Andrew brings vast experience from his three years as the State of Colorado's first Director of Cannabis Coordination. During this time, he developed distinctive experience effectively implementing voter-mandated legalized adult-use and medical cannabis while protecting public health, maintaining public safety, and keeping cannabis out of the hands of children.

Andrew's role in developing a successful operating model for cannabis regulation and stakeholder collaboration was identified as one of the reasons for the State of Colorado's success in implementing adult-use cannabis legalization by the Brookings Institution. Governor Hickenlooper has gone so far as to praise Andrew's work while on national television, stating, "Andrew Freedman, who came in and helped us once it was passed . . . [has] done a remarkable job of creating a regulatory framework."

Andrew has received national recognition for his leadership. Men's Health Magazine named him one of the 30 most influential health influencers of the last 30 years. He was recognized as one of Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business" in 2016. He has been featured on 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Governing Magazine, and dozens of local stories throughout the nation and internationally.

Andrew holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in philosophy and political science from Tufts University. ​

Neal Shifman  Director

Neal is a nationally and internationally known consultant and facilitator in service system redesign, with special expertise in substance use, mental health, criminal justice, and a variety of at-risk populations and their interface with social service systems. As a subject matter expert, he translates knowledge in behavioral health care and human services to social policy and systems change. Neal was an early pioneer in developing the continuum of care for substance use prevention and treatment. He has worked extensively with federal and state systems on substance use and behavioral health projects.


Internationally, a venue for his work has been the Caribbean, where he has led several strategic initiatives involving governments, judicial systems, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Examples of his work include the design of the substance use delivery system in St. Maarten; the coordination, development, and implementation of a World Health Organization (WHO)-sponsored Caribbean Initiative on substance use; policy, facilitative, and writing support for the United Nations Drug Control Program's (UNDCP) International Drug Court Project; and a three-year redesign of the criminal justice system in Bermuda known as Alternatives to Incarceration. 
 

Neal holds an M.A. from Goddard Graduate School 1973-1974 and B.A. College of William and Mary 1968-1972.

John Hudak  

John is the deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management and a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.

 

John is the author of Marijuana: A Short History, which offers an up-to-date profile of how cannabis has become a source of legal revenue for both businesses and governments. John's work has been recognized for its quality and contribution by the Midwest Political Science Association and the American Political Science Association's Presidency Research Group.

 

John holds a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Connecticut and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Vanderbilt University.

Linda Frazier  

Linda has extensive leadership and consulting experience in behavioral health and addictions. She is a nurse and master certified health education specialist (MCHES) who has worked in public health, prevention, and behavioral health services for more than 30 years in a variety of clinical settings. 
 

She has experience in direct clinical service, operations management, licensing, contracting, regulatory oversight and change management. She speaks and trains on research, clinical, prevention, policy and regulatory best practice approaches to cannabis legalization. She has led federal and state provider learning collaboratives for implementing evidence-based practices and has provided training and technical assistance (T/TA) and coaching on National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded research projects. Linda is from a family in recovery and is experienced in co-occurring treatment. 
 

She chaired the 2019 North American Cannabis Summit and 2017 National Cannabis Summit steering committees and is the Immediate Past Chair of the American Public Health Association Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Section. 
 

Linda worked in Maine state government for 10 years and last served as associate director of treatment and recovery services for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. 
 

Linda holds an M.A. in education and a B.S. in adolescent development and health, both from the University of Minnesota.

Alan Marzilli  

Alan's extensive experience in mental health policy, writing, training, and curriculum design includes writing rules implementing Maine's adult-use and medical cannabis initiatives; comprehensive toolkits, blog posts and other web content, podcasts, online curricula, and research reports for the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Labor, and Veterans Affairs (VA); and guidelines for supportive housing in Florida. 
 

He has conducted trainings in 30 states and territories and has designed 3 training curricula that have been used nationally to educate people about mental health, housing, and support services. He has also authored 15 nonfiction books on legal and policy issues for young adult readers. 
 

Alan holds a J.D. from Georgetown University and an M.A. in English from Emory University.

Mackenzie Slade 

Mackenzie manages projects all over the United States with private and government entities seeking subject matter consultation, strategic planning, and implementation support. She has extensive healthcare-specific project management experience gleaned from numerous state and federal health policy initiatives. For Maine's Office of Marijuana Policy, Mackenzie scoped and managed the development of the adult-use cannabis regulatory framework and assisted in the rulemaking process.
 

Ms. Slade was the sole portfolio manager and revenue cycle consultant for the national implementation of various clinical documentation improvement projects for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Reporting to the Deputy Undersecretary for Health, Ms. Slade led the revenue transformation team to a successful implementation of numerous process improvements, the execution of identified best practices, and the development of key performance indicators (KPIs) to more than 1,000 sites of care. 
 

Predating her time as a government contractor, Ms. Slade provided consultation and research assistance to the leading reproductive health nonprofit in South Carolina, where she managed several proposed bills into a successful legislative session.
 

Mackenzie holds a B.A. in public health from the University of South Carolina and is an M.P.H. candidate at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Noah Shifman 

Noah brings to Cannabis Public Policy Consulting more than a decade of experience in the healthcare consulting field, most recently having led the innovation business unit for a Massachusetts consulting firm. There, he directed a strategic cannabis initiative, working with state regulators and public health professionals on decriminalization, legalization, and regulation of cannabis and associated public health concerns. Previously, he assisted several federally funded consulting projects regarding behavioral health, drugged driving, substance use disorders, and workforce development. He is skilled in site and applications development, operations and financial planning, and business development. 
 

Noah holds an M.B.A from the Franklin W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We provide unmatched expertise in cannabis legalization to help state and local governments succeed.

GOVERNMENT

For government, we provide unmatched expertise in marijuana legalization to help state and local governments succeed, and to make sure the latest innovations and standards are being recognized and implemented.

 

We have helped jurisdictions across the United States and in foreign countries explore policy alternatives, establish initial governance structures, draft legislative language, develop regulations, create communication plans, prioritize budgets, and engage communities and stakeholders that both support and oppose marijuana reform. We analyze data and experiences across states to share best practices and anticipate challenges.

01
Seed-to-sale tracking
02
Data analytics and technology solutions
03
Policy and budget development
04
Communications and public health campaigns
06

Lab testing and pesticide use

07

Governance and enforcement structures for medical and recreational marijuana, and hemp

08

Socializing new laws and regulations

05

Public safety guidelines and challenges

09

Political engagement with constituencies

Government’s role in implementing marijuana policy is critical, but it also has limitations that the private sector can help fill. Even though there is still significant uncertainty among private companies, there are tremendous opportunities for such businesses to help government shape what marijuana legalization looks like across the country.

 

Our expertise in direct-to-government work and in ancillary services such as banking, financing, data analytics, insurance products and many more will demonstrate how to explore the legalization markets and make informed decisions that address concerns to entry while optimizing opportunities to participate.

 

Freedman and Koski is uniquely positioned to help these businesses thrive in an emerging and constantly changing business environment. We provide clarity in a volatile business landscape by helping bring sound products to market and tailoring these products to the unique characteristics of the industry and to varying state and local regulations.

Areas of Expertise
01
Data and analytics
02

Financial services

03

Infrastructure

04

Research and biotech

05

Seed-to-sale

06

General advisory

07

Strategic communications

08

Intergovernmental relations

09

System implementation

10

Management consulting

 
Areas of Expertise
PRIVATE BUSINESS
GOVERNMENT
Areas of Expertise

We help jurisdictions across the United States and in foreign countries explore policy alternatives, establish initial governance structures, draft legislative language, develop regulations, create communication plans, prioritize budgets, and engage communities and stakeholders that both support and oppose cannabis reform. We analyze data and experiences across states to share best practices and anticipate challenges.

01
Seed-to-sale tracking
04
Communications and public health campaigns
07

Governance and enforcement structures

02
Data analytics and technology solutions
05

Public safety guidelines and challenges

08

Socializing new laws and regulations

03
Policy and budget development
06

Lab testing and pesticide use

09

Political engagement with stakeholders

Areas of Expertise
PRIVATE BUSINESS

Government can't do this alone. To successfully implement cannabis reform, ancillary businesses that provide financial, monitoring, safety, data, and infrastructure solutions must become the backbone of the regulatory system. We are uniquely positioned to help these businesses thrive in an emerging and constantly changing business environment. We provide clarity in a volatile business landscape by helping bring sound products to market and tailoring these products to the unique characteristics of the industry and to varying state and local regulations.

01
Data and analytics
04

Research and biotech

07

Strategic communications

02

Financial services

05

Seed-to-sale

08

Intergovernmental relations

03

Infrastructure

06

Management 

09

System implementation

 
 
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

We present up-to-date research and firsthand experiences about what happens after states implement legalized cannabis We are proven thought leaders who are on the cutting edge of policy creation and implementation, and our co-founders will help define marijuana policy nationwide and internationally.

 

We have had the honor of presenting to some of the most influential groups and at some of the most powerful conferences:

Testimonies and briefings:

  • United States Congress

  • Florida Legislature

  • California Legislature

  • California Treasury

  • California Board of Equalization

  • Connecticut Legislature

  • Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors

  • Ohio Legislature

  • Maine Legislature

  • Nevada Legislature

  • Vermont Legislature

  • Rhode Island Legislature

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse

  • Virginia Bar Association

  • National Governors Association

  • The Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate

  • The American Association of Credit Union Leagues

  • The Civic Federation of Chicago

  • The Brookings Institution

  • American Public Health Association

  • Empire Club of Canada

  • Senate of Canada

  • House of Commons of Canada

  • Calgary Canadian Summit

Conferences:

  • Code Conference

  • The Seminar

  • Aspen Ideas Fest

  • Aspen Institute-Mexico

  • Summit Series

  • Biennial of the Americas

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

  • Governing Magazine Leadership Forum

  • The Cannabis Science and Policy Summit

  • Conference of State Bank Supervisors

  • National Conference of State Legislatures

  • American Civil Liberties Union

  • The Ohio State University

  • SXSW

  • The District of Columbia Council

  • Association of Food and Drug Officials

  • Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police

  • Louisiana Hospital Association

  • Canadian Petroleum Safety Conference

  • GardaWorld Banking Forum

  • Credit Union National Association

 

Top media outlets agree with us.

Recent coverage of Andrew Freedman

"I actually see this as a populist-movement-vs.-representative (body) issue," says Andrew Freedman, who helped set up Colorado's recreational-pot program and now consults governments on doing so.​

"A vote of the people is much more aspirational in terms of what you want your state to look like, and the vote to implement is much more what your state will look like. And then you have to own the outcome," Freedman says.

Andrew Freedman describes his new consulting gig with the state of Rhode Island as mostly helping with “boring, technical nerdy stuff.” But the topic he’s an expert on is anything but boring. Now, Freedman’s consulting firm has been hired by the Raimondo administration to help possibly implement recreational marijuana in Rhode Island, and make updates to the existing medical marijuana program.

Marijuana might seem to be an odd place to start on that quest. But if you view it, as Freedman does, through the lens of social justice, or economic potential, or public health, you get a picture of his mission.

As befits a guy who helped open Pandora’s pot stash, Freedman thinks a lot about the welfare of the public. Ask him if he’s a health innovator and his answer is equal parts modest and wonky: “I would not consider myself a public-health expert,” he says. “I can get the public-health experts to weigh in on policy in an effective manner, and to actually bring those groups together to influence policy.” And in Colorado’s case, lead the grand cannabis experiment.

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Recent coverage of John Hudak

It's a move that could prevent some headaches for Canadians, said John Hudak,..."The best way for Canada to deal with this issue is to be proactive. Designing information campaigns in dispensaries, on roadways near airports and borders, and in airports themselves, is an important step," he said.

Hudak said that even though the “changes in stigma have been dramatic,” and support for policy reform is “highly addictive right now in the United States Congress,” the movement for change on Capitol Hill is “probably not there yet.”

This duopoly presents a problem, said John Hudak, a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. “There are supply issues in the country,” he said, citing “the limited amount of cannabis produced in a given harvest.

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Our Publications

GET IN TOUCH

Andrew Freedman
 

Recent Blog Posts

At the request of Illinois State Senator Steans and State Representative Cassidy, Freedman & Koski wrote a snapshot analysis of the current demand for adult use cannabis in Illinois. That snapshot can be found here. A fact sheet for the findings can be found here.

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in The Charleston Gazette-Mail on October 21, 2018.

If you ever open a cannabis business, you will have this meeting: Some really big guys will contact you about your cash problem. A cash problem only they could solve. It will require unmarked, bullet-proof vans, guns, more big guys, and some special relationships with government officials. At one point when you ask how they get the mo...

September 26, 2018

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in The Hill on September 2nd, 2018.

It’s been a long time since the public has been willing to Just Say No, but that doesn’t mean the government is done saying it.

The long history of United States drug policy has been to pursue political agendas and ideology rather than promote sound public policy. The public has questioned the motives behind the government’s drug policies well before...

September 12, 2018

Editors Note: This article was originally published in Forbes on August 13th, 2018.

In the waning days of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s last legislative session, he vetoed three cannabis bills in two days. One would have allowed cannabis to be consumed onsite at dispensaries. Another would have allowed autism to be a qualifying condition for medical cannabis. Those two vetoes dominated the next news cycle.

The less sexy...

August 27, 2018

Note, this op-ed was originally published in Westword on April 23rd, 2018.

The woman who was administering marijuana to her son daily desperately needed me to know that she wasn’t a hippie. She had no prior relationship with marijuana. But after she had exhausted all other forms of medication to treat her son’s seizures, she decided to try medical marijuana.  She saw her son go through his first day in years without a seizure....

August 13, 2018

Editor's Note: This post originally appeared in The Washington Post on June 27, 2018.​

John Hudak is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and senior adviser at the cannabis policy consulting firm Freedman & Koski. He is the author of “Marijuana: A Short History.”

The Food and Drug Administration did something entirely routine and completely unprecedented Monday: It approved a drug called Epidiolex.

What makes this mo...

Editor's Note: This post refers to a white paper we produced in collaboration with Greenbits and can be read here.  

In the headline-grabbing Trump Administration, it can be difficult to maintain focus on a policy development for more than a day or two. So when Attorney General Jeff Sessions made his move on state-legal cannabis, the public can be forgiven for seeing it as old news a few weeks later. But cannabis legalizat...

Editor's Note: This post originally appeared in The Hill on January 7, 2018.

One of the great social and political experiments of this decade, marijuana legalization, faces its greatest existential threat: Jeff Sessions.

Twenty-nine states have exercised their rights and legalized marijuana in some form for medical or adult use, despite marijuana possession remaining a federal crime. The anti-commandeering doctrine, long recogni...

October 27, 2017

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the The Hill on August 9, 2017.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently called for the return of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), the 1980s anti-drug campaign aimed at helping prevent and combat youth drug use.

However, to truly prevent kids from using drugs, our country needs programs that are proven to work. In particular, marijuana, since it is becom...

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Las Vegas Sun on July 18, 2017.

State-led marijuana legalization has led to Onion-like headlines across the country. “Here comes the first Church of Cannabis,” “Colorado to offer one-day tax holiday on marijuana,” “Marijuana lawsuit claims legal pot grow makes horse riding less pleasant,” and now “Governor declares state of emergency as marijuana stash runs short.”

These hea...

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