Cannabis in Colorado, a community at the forefront

When I first got to Colorado, my expectations were based in large part on the number of other people moving here. I figured with Cannabis having been online recreationally for over two years, that I’d be entering a fully matured marketplace with the only option being to start at the bottom and move my way up. Consumption would be treated like alcohol, essentially given carte blanche to consume as one wished. Regulations for product testing and adherence to a fully developed supply chain would be perfected. And most of all, product knowledge both for recreational and medical consumption would be all but completely mastered.

I’m happy to say that I couldn’t have been more surprised. What I’ve found, now having been involved for one year, is the incredible room for growth. And the people who are occupying this room couldn't be more inspirational. One of my first glimpses into what this industry looked like was a monthly Denver NORML meeting where we discussed everything from national Cannabis policy to local involvement in our own political process. After my first meeting, and some initial hesitation, I have attended nearly every month since last May. Jordan Person, Priscilla Solis, Spencer Ward, Alex Rubin, Lisa Tran, Judd Golden, and Clarissa Krieck, and Angel Bertus— the powerhouse behind the force that is Denver NORML, have reshaped my idea of involvement in this industry and activism at the political level overall.

Bryan Wachsman, who runs 303 Organic Cannabis along with consulting for Green Farms while sitting on the board for Denver NORML, has shown Nik, myself, and Third day co-op the potential for a sustainable future in the growth practices of Cannabis; and one that inherently allows access to the most effective and safest medicine available. Sunny Kaercher, with Miller Soils, taught me more about the soil food web and its role in the maintenance of every living organism than 3 semesters of horticulture classes. She, along with Miller Soils, is crafting a fundamental understanding of plant health, along with some incredible soil and compost blends!

The local voices of the fitness community, incorporating Cannabis as not only a productive but essential part of a balanced lifestyle have been incredible to meet. While people like Heather and Antonio DeRose who run MJFITNUT shatter the audacious idea of Cannabis somehow “making” a lethargic person; Jimmy Smrz, Samantha Prock along with her husband Tyler and Lucy Rose are doing an incredible job of demonstrating how Cannabis can and should be a part of an intrinsic journey of personal and communal understanding.

One of the most intriguing facets of this industry is the need for entrepreneurship. The desire and the need to create that so inherently came to those growing under cover of darkness still persists as this industry moves forward. Innovations at the consumer level like the Blazy Susan, or Sana packaging’s hemp based child resistant packaging geared to hopefully curb the plastic that plagues this and all industries are just a few exciting new products. Some of the excellent design behind James Flint’s Honor the Plant products ensure success for the novice and experienced grower. These guys are just getting started and are positioning themselves to do f*#%ing incredible things, the right way.

And there are those that are demonstrating consummate professionalism while educating all of us on some of the most complicated issues surrounding Cannabis. Michelle Wright, who runs the Boulder Cannabis Industry Meetup, has created a new expectation for educational and networking events in this industry; and she’s working with some of the foremost authorities on all subjects Cannabis. Dr. Regina Nelson, who runs the eCS Therapy Center while continuing her lifelong fight as a Cannabis activist, is reshaping the way we think of our physiological connection with Cannabis and creating a way for patients to more accurately and effectively speak with their health care professionals about incorporating this plant into their life.

On an educational level, there are so many facets that this industry reaches. There are trade skills to be gained in contracting work for grows, maintenance, lighting, heating and air conditioning, and security. Not to mention the need for further education in software engineering, structural engineering, microbiology, supply chain management, marketing, law, graphic design, healthcare, pharmacology, physical therapy, and business management. Oh and of course the potential to reach into philanthropic work—a community giving back after years of condemnation and ridicule.

It is one of the most inspirational manifestations to see. The idea that from the shadows of not only an illegal, but grotesquely vilified start that Cannabis had in modern America and indeed most of the world; it has finally now, having in large part never being truly tainted by opportunistic overextension, regained hold in the human condition. These are the people working to form this industry and inspire others to do the same. This was a bit long-winded, but it’s exhilarating to see the energy here at what is still the infancy stage of this industry. Moving forward is our only course, and this community is navigating these unfamiliar waters with passion and a glimpse of optimism amidst an otherwise questionable state of affairs.

Thank you to everyone my partner Nik and I have met through this last year, we can’t wait to continue shaping this industry with you to how it always should have been.

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