After more than two decades working on energy, cannabis, and food policy in Western states, Kristen joined the New Mexico Restaurant Association as the Director of Government Affairs in June 2023.

Kristen came from the Cannabis Control Division for the State of New Mexico, where she oversaw the adoption of the initial rules and regulations for adult use cannabis sales and the launch of the licensing and compliance framework for the State’s newest government agency. Under her direction, the state began adult-use cannabis sales on time by launching an industry that generated $300 million in annual sales, created over 11,000 new jobs and brought in $50 million in state revenue in the first year alone.

Prior moving to New Mexico to explore new frontiers, Kristen served as the Director of Government Affairs for Columbia Care, nationally recognized cannabis industry innovators, where she worked to improve state and local policies around cannabis production, manufacturing and sales. This work was preceded by more than a decade advancing policy change for emerging industries in Colorado, including those that allowed for community-based renewable energy projects on electric grids, opened supply chains to locally grown organic foods, and created new markets for commercialized cannabis across the West.

Thomson has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado State University and a graduate certificate in strategic communications from the University of Colorado Denver, and a certificate in ESG Strategy from the University of Colorado Boulder.

She lives in Santa Fe with her dog, Lulu.