The Nov. 5-6 Marijuana Management Symposium hosted by Denver officials at the downtown Colorado Convention Center is aimed at “anyone who is, or will be responsible for implementing marijuana policies and regulations at the local and state levels,” according to its website. (Ed Andrieski, Associated Press file)

Symposium spotlights how Denver leaders regulate weed

The city of Denver's Marijuana Management Symposium on tap for Thursday and Friday will discuss the finer points of establishing laws and policies; conference attracts broad out-of-state interest

Denver’s first-ever Marijuana Management Symposium, the first cannabis event of its kind organized by a government agency, will open its doors at Colorado Convention Center on Thursday and Friday.

The symposium is getting the attention of governments outside of Colorado. Most of the 200-300 attendees the city expects are government employees (cities, counties, fire districts) from Colorado, but there will also be registrants from 10 other states, Washington D.C. and beyond.

“I hope to get a glimpse of Denver’s efforts on the legalization project,” said Yvette van Groenigen, who advises Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan and is in Denver for the symposium. “We are following the news about Denver, ever since Mayor (Michael) Hancock has visited us in April of 2014.”

The event is aimed at “anyone who is, or will be responsible for implementing marijuana policies and regulations at the local and state levels,” according to its website.

That pointed aim at policy makers is what excites some in the marijuana industry.

“The approach is a really fascinating one,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “The city is saying, ‘We have now two years of experience under our belts, dealing with the various regulatory challenges.’ And given that this is extending into other states and cities, there are a lot of opportunities to share knowledge. I personally believe that the more of that kind of information sharing people are able to do, the better off we’re going to be.”

The event revolves around what the city calls “the Denver collaborative model” with break-out workshops on Public Health & Environmental Quality, Youth Prevention & Education and other subjects related to the implementation of legal cannabis.

“With the symposium, we are not advocating for or against legalization, but just sharing information about how one city has chosen to regulate marijuana,” said Ashley Kilroy, executive director of the city’s office of marijuana policy, which organized the event. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and are looking forward to the opportunity to provide others with information that might help them.”

The symposium kicked off on Wednesday with optional tours of cannabis businesses and facilities, but the programming at the convention center starts at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday. Tickets to the event, $125-$175, are available via dmms2015.com.

Ricardo Baca: 303-954-1394, rbaca@denverpost.com or @bruvs

This story was first published on DenverPost.com