Excise & Licenses Executive Dir. announces departure, interim named

Published on November 30, 2021

After more than five successful years at the helm of the Department of Excise and Licenses, 25 years overall with the City and County of Denver and the ushering in of legalized marijuana, Executive Director Ashley Kilroy today announced she will be departing the role effective January 7.

“Throughout her time in public service, Ashley has been a critical part of my and other administration’s efforts to foster a business environment that provides equity for all, improve public safety and streamline regulations. And she pioneered a new frontier as we became the first city marijuana regulator in the world, and that Denver Model is looked to today as the standard.” Mayor Hancock said. “She set the bar high for the Department of Excise and Licenses and in every role she’s held, and has been a critical part of my administration since I took office. Her innovative leadership and dedication, which I’ve relied on, will be greatly missed, but our city is where it is today because she answered the call to serve.”

Kilroy has served the City and County of Denver since 1997 in various roles under four mayors, and as the Executive Director of the Department of Excise and Licenses since 2016. Kilroy was appointed by Mayor Hancock as the first Director of the Office of Marijuana Policy in 2014 to oversee the creation of the first legalized recreational marijuana market in America. Her work in this area has provided a baseline regulatory model of other cities who have since followed Denver in legalizing recreation marijuana. Mayor Hancock merged the Office of Marijuana Policy and the Department of Excise and Licenses in 2016 and appointed Kilroy as the Executive Director. As Executive Director, she dramatically reduced average lobby wait times for all our business license applicants from around 30 minutes to under one minute today. In addition, Kilroy led efforts that improved regulations for security guards, short-term rentals and played a key role in launching one of the most successful outdoor dining programs in America during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has been one of the top honors of my career to serve Mayor Hancock,” said Kilroy. “When the Mayor asked me to serve as the first Director of the agency overseeing marijuana regulations in Denver, I knew it was going to be a major challenge. However, his vision of creating a collaboration of many city agencies working together to make this a success set us on a pathway to becoming the standard that all other cities and states have copied in one form or another as cannabis legalization spreads across the United States. I’m proud of what we have accomplished together and will be standing by to assist Mayor Hancock in the future after I take an overdue break from public service to spend extended time with my family.”

Mayor Hancock also announced that Kilroy’s long-time Deputy Director of Policy and Administration, Molly Duplechian will serve as the interim Executive Director for the department following Kilroy’s departure. Duplechian has served the City and County of Denver since 2007, the past four years as Deputy Director of Policy and Administration for Excise and Licenses. Duplechian joined the Office of Marijuana Policy in 2014 and worked side-by-side with Kilroy in developing the first legalized marijuana market in the world and remained as Kilroy’s top deputy when the Office of Marijuana Policy and Department of Excise and Licenses merged. Duplechian began her public service with the City and County of Denver as a Financial Analyst with the Department of Finance and most recently shepherded the largest overhaul ever in Denver marijuana regulations that created exclusive licensing for social equity applicants for the next six years.

“I’m honored to be appointed to this important position in an interim role by Mayor Hancock and support his focus on economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Duplechian. “Ashley leaves our agency in a position to continue supporting the success of our business community and their employees, and implementing policies geared towards equity in our city. We will also continue our focus on supporting economic recovery, public safety, increasing equity in Denver’s marijuana marketplace and successfully launching the new residential rental license next year.”

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