Westword’s Patricia Calhoun updates us on the latest gig for Michael Huttner, the mercurial political organizer who gets a lot of credit for helping flip the state of Colorado from red to blue in the last decade:
“I found my way home,” says Michael Huttner, who got his start as a troublemaker as a Westword intern. After that, he added much more illustrious lines to his résumé: as a lawyer, founder of ProgressNow and, most recently, CEO of Fenton, the nation’s largest social-change agency.
To take that gig, though, Huttner had to move to New York City last year, leaving his family in Boulder. But now he’s back in the Mile High City as the CEO of Powerplant Strategies, a national cannabis communications and public-affairs firm that he helped found last fall, which provides strategic advice to investors in the cannabis space. Powerplant is a sister company to Fenton, and Huttner will remain the political director of Fenton, working with new CEO Ben Wyskida. But right now, he’s focusing on the marijuana industry — and the politics around it…
Huttner isn’t a newcomer to cannabis advocacy. In January 2010, he convened a small group of drug reform and policy leaders in Colorado, which laid out a blueprint for how Colorado could become the first state to decriminalize cannabis in the country. Two years later, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64. Vicente Sederberg was part of that meeting; at the time, the firm had just a few lawyers. Today it has around thirty.
With California and several other states gearing up to launch their own recreational marijuana industries, Huttner won’t have any trouble finding clients. Colorado has by far the most experience with successful regulation and sales of marijuana, so there are plenty of lessons to share from our experience–not least being navigating the novel politics surrounding this highly lucrative industry.
As for local Republicans, they’re happy to see Huttner keeping busy too–lest they face him on the campaign trail again.