Current business interests:
- Cresco Labs Illinois
- Cresco Labs Puerto Rico
- Denver Relief Consulting
- Manna Molecular
- Sexpot Comedy
- Sexy Pizza
- Silver Sage Wellness
- Vapor Slide
Current advocate and philanthropic affiliations:
- Alternative Solutions Advocacy Project – Advisor
- City of Denver DEH Environmental Stewardship Committee– Committee Co-Chair
- City of Denver Mayors Office Marijuana Work Group – Member
- City of Denver Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program -Lead Proponent / Committee Chair
- Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra – Board Member
- Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation – Board Member
- Denver Innocence Project – Advisor
- Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe – Board Member
- Harm Reduction Action Center – Board Member
- Minority Cannabis Business Association – Board Member
- National Cannabis Industry Association – Board Member
- Resource Innovation Institute – Board Member
- Students for Sensible Drug Policy – Board of Trustees Member
Kayvan S.T. Khalatbari moved to Denver in 2004 from his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, after graduating with a degree in Architectural Engineering. He spent the next five years working as an electrical systems designer and volunteering for Sensible Colorado and SAFER by participating in call to action activities such as collecting signatures for I-100 and other Cannabis initiatives, and chasing Denver Mayor Hickenlooper around in a chicken suit to protest his hypocritical views on cannabis legalization. He did so more recently with Hickenlooper as Governor of Colorado during his reelection campaign.
Through his volunteer work, Kayvan became an active member of a growing network of devoted patients, caregivers and medical cannabis business professionals. He soon realized that in addition to the benefits medical cannabis offers to patients, an incredible support system was developing as well. Through this support system, Kayvan met his future business partners for his local businesses, Sexy Pizza, Denver Relief, Denver Relief Consulting, DRx, Sexpot Comedy and Birdy. magazine. He also works with the city of Denver to produce progressive art events such as art&.
Kayvan partnered with the Assistant Director of SAFER to start Sexy Pizza in 2008 while continuing to support medical cannabis activism through the pizzeria. Sexy Pizza initially honored non-profit organizations including SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition with a pie on the menu that delivers proceeds to them each time it is purchased. With the successes of these groups in Colorado, Sexy Pizza has since moved those pie donations over to new groups, the Harm Reduction Action Center, Freedom Service Dogs of America and the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra, an organization in which he sits on the Board of Directors.
One year after opening Sexy Pizza, Kayvan co-founded and became Operations Manager at Denver Relief, which was the oldest cannabis business in Colorado at the time of its sale to Willie Nelson’s brand Willie’s Reserve and Terrapin Care Station. Denver Relief brought to the industry a unique approach that encouraged a change in the perception of cannabis in an effort to help normalize the industry and integrate seamlessly into communities. Denver Relief always remained vocal and has received as much media attention as any dispensary in the US, solely to drive that message.
This mindset is what led to the development of the GREEN TEAM in 2009, a community outreach program that coordinates urban gardening efforts, free bicycle and wheelchair repair clinics, food, coat, clothing and hygiene product collection drives, trash pickup at events and more. The GREEN TEAM also raises money to pay for an underprivileged student to attend college and is in the process of being converted into a 501(c)(3) to expand this network nationwide. The GREEN TEAM was recognized in 2015 by The Denver Post’s The Cannabist magazine’s award for Community Involvement, has more than 1,000 active volunteers and works with more than 40 supporting businesses.
With a successful dispensary and a brand that had the potential for expansion, Kayvan and his business partners found themselves in a position to start a new chapter. Considering the growth of national and global medical and recreational cannabis programs, they decided to pursue a sort of model expansion as opposed to brand expansion and began to focus on consulting services that promote progressive best practices and technologies that focus on environmental stewardship, science based research and the promotion of well-intending people within the core of the cannabis space.
Denver Relief Consulting was formed in 2012 with the mission to assist other states by helping them accomplish what Denver Relief did in Colorado. More so than any other consultants in the industry, Kayvan and his team spoke about the need to normalize this industry and to give back. They now have clients in 13 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada, Colombia and Australia. Their consulting services range from state application submissions, facility design, policies and procedures development, employee training, regulatory navigation, research and development, vendor relations, cultivation guidance and more. Kayvan has led Denver Relief Consulting clients and partners to merit-based license awards in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Nevada, Illinois, Florida, Maryland, and Puerto Rico, receiving top application scores in Nevada, Illinois (top 3) and Maryland. Most recently Kayvan was the primary principal behind winning a contract with Southern University in Louisiana, a HBCU that will become the first university in the world to grow and wholesale medical cannabis for commercial purposes. Kayvan has also led the charge to get Denver Relief Consulting involved in vetting legal commercial cannabis opportunties for Native American tribes across the country, now working with two prominent tribes in two states.
Kayvan’s consulting specialty is a comprehensive approach to the business side of cannabis and provides his services for the multitude of documents, licenses, records, and accounting that are necessary to ensure the future viability and legal protection of any medical cannabis business. He is a tenured community organizer and works often with local municipalities across the country to responsibly integrate cannabis businesses into new markets.
Kayvan is a founding board member of the Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America and currently serves in the same role for the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has also been a “big brother” mentor for Denver Kids Inc. since 2007, and has been guiding his three current kids since 2009. Kayvan has also been appointed guardian of these children whose adoptive mother is currently in her 80s.
Kayvan is also a strong advocate for policy reform related to housing and homelessness, working with a coalition of diverse entities (Alternative Solutions Advocacy Project) to engage in a dialogue with all stakeholders in an effort to find solutions to this growing problem in Denver and nationwide. Kayvan recently recorded and shared a video online of Denver police officers confiscating blankets from members of the homeless community in bitter winter temperatures, a video that started a fire on the topic homelessness across the country and forced Denver’s mayor to change policy related to the treatment of homelessness. Kayvan was also a candidate for one of Denver City Council’s two at-large seats in 2015 and was unsuccessful in that bid, but operated a campaign that was largely noticed and unique in its approach and ability to reach otherwise disengaged voters. Kayvan is contemplating a try again for Denver municipal office in 2019.