Green Team Hopes to Engage Cannabis Industry In Community Integration and Responsibility
DENVER — June 1, 2016 — As an increasingly faceless cannabis industry continues to consolidate and corporatize, Denver Relief is encouraging its colleagues and competitors to get involved in the communities in which they do business.
Through its community-integration arm, the Green Team, Denver Relief – Denver’s oldest cannabis retailer – is developing and implementing a community integration and responsibility plan. It hopes to offer the plan as a model to the entire industry, which continues to grapple with negative public perceptions and community concerns.
“The cannabis industry’s lack of a commitment to community improvement has contributed to a divisive and hyper-political environment,” explains Kayvan Khalatbari, a co-founder of Denver Relief and a community organizer on several social issues in Denver. “It is incumbent upon our industry to engage civic leaders and neighborhood groups and work together toward implementing a community integration plan. With a new ordinance recently put in place by City Council to restrict the industry, the time to put such a plan into action is now.” The plan has already been presented in person to Councilwoman Robin Kniech who has offered her support in facilitating introductions to community leaders at the heart of the controversy.
It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is evolving into a behemoth. But it does not have to become the monster that has plagued other gigantic industries. Community engagement could ease concerns and help integrate the industry in a way that positively impacts neighborhoods and the overall perception of cannabis business owners, operators and consumers.
The concerns have been echoed by the Denver City Council, which in April passed an ordinance that requires cannabis businesses to submit and implement community engagement plans. With Colorado serving as a model to other states considering legalization, it is critical that the industry get it right. The Green Team plans on building from current initiatives and supplementing them with additional efforts specific to each neighborhood based on need, including those related to neighborhood beautification, increasing access to healthy food; homelessness assistance, improving connectivity and transportation, capital investments in schools, supply collection drives and local hiring initiatives. “We are the example they look to,” said Ean Seeb, a Denver Relief co-owner and community organizer. “The Green Team plan will go beyond engagement to bring together industry operators and partners with local neighborhood organizations to identify areas where the industry can make a positive impact in the communities in which they operate.”
Denver Relief hopes that fellow cannabis business owners will contact Green Team coordinators to help them facilitate meetings with civic and neighborhood leaders to discuss community integration plans. Coordinators will serve as liaisons between city officials, neighborhood groups, community leaders and the cannabis industry.
About Denver Relief
Denver Relief, one of Colorado’s first and most successful cannabis retailers, located at 1 Broadway, has blossomed by committing to the distribution of safe and responsible products and the promotion of social action and philanthropy. Denver Relief was built on a foundation of advocacy and industry involvement, with principals currently serving on the Board of Directors for the National Cannabis Industry Association and the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation. Through leadership, Denver Relief is setting an example for the rest of the marijuana industry.
About the Green Team
The Denver Relief Green Team is a volunteer group co-founded in 2010 by Denver Relief co-owners Kayvan Khalatbari and Ean Seeb. The Green Team works within communities to leave a lasting positive impact, including environmental cleanup, raising money for charitable causes and youth college funds and providing support at community events. The Green Team has brought together over 700 active cannabis industry volunteers in Colorado. For its efforts, the Denver Post’s “Cannabist” awarded the Green Team its Community Involvement Award in 2015.
Ean Seeb and Kayvan Khalatbari
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