Pioneers in Progress
Launched in 2017 with a mission to support the compliance, transparency and growth of legal cannabis businesses in the U.S., the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) is the cannabis industry’s first self-regulatory organization (SRO). Led by a team of government, legal, banking and data security experts — including DRC’s Ean Seeb — the NACB helps member businesses establish voluntary national standards that address critical issues such as regulatory compliance and financial integrity. SROs have proven to be a highly effective means of helping to encourage growth in industries, shield companies from unnecessary government interference, and protect the public. Similar to other SROs, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) in the financial industry, the NACB intends to work with members to create uniform, national standards to ensure its members act ethically and responsibly. The NACB provides members access to a variety of expertise, tools and services that they are unlikely to access elsewhere, which are intended to help them enhance the value of their business and navigate the complex web of perpetually shifting regulations in the regulated cannabis market.
Memberships are available to all state-licensed cultivators, processors, retailers, and testing labs, as well as ancillary product and service providers. Apply to become a member HERE.
The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is the first 501(c)(6) not for profit business league created specifically to progress the cannabis industry by increasing diversity. As a member of the managing board of the MCBA, Kayvan Khalatbari believes in the importance of creating equal access to the industry — as well as economic empowerment —for the communities most affected by the war on drugs. The MCBA believes that by increasing the representation of minorities among cannabis business employees, owners and investors, the industry can maximize its unique potential to serve as an economic accelerator and creator of opportunity, and improve critical social and health measures of all communities.
For more than a quarter century the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra has provided youth symphony orchestra programs for aspiring young musicians in the Denver community. Kayvan Khalatbari sits on the Board of Directors, and regularly contributes funds to the organization — both personally and through his various businesses — helping CYSO to provide Colorado’s children access to musical understanding, while fostering social growth, self-esteem, and a lifelong love of music for all aspiring musicians.
Denver Relief Consulting has partnered with Neil Yorio, a LED lighting expert and technology consultant, and Bruce Bugbee, a Professor of Crop Physiology from Utah State University to conduct research on the application of energy efficient LED lighting technologies in cultivation.
Professor Bugbee has an extensive background in scientific research and academia and currently teaches in the Plants, Soils, & Climate Department at Utah State University. Bugbee has participated in several highly distinguished comprehensive scientific reviews, including NASA Life Sciences research for the National Research Council and proposal reviews for the American Association of Biological Sciences Advisory panel. In addition, professor Bugbee helped the NRC publish and co-edit a book, “Advanced Technology for Human Life Support in Space”. Bugbee was the recipient of the 2012 Utah Governor’s Medal for Science Award and continues to be a leader in agriculture and plant sciences.
Neil Yorio is currently the product manager for Biological Innovation & Optimization Systems’ LED grow lamp and fixture program and serves as a technology consultant to Denver Relief Consulting. Yorio has experience working with NASA for over 20 years on research involving a number of aspects of photobiology, plant physiology, and controlled environment horticulture applied to keeping humans alive for long-duration space missions.
Though LED lamps are known to require substantially less electricity use than traditional high-pressure sodium (HPS) and metal-halide (MH) lamps, they are used infrequently in cannabis cultivation operations because there is little reliable information about their effect on cannabis yield, potency, and terpene development. In coordination with Professor Bugbee, DRC is performing a research and development project that will provide data on the response of cannabis plants to LED lighting in comparison to lighting technologies traditionally used in cultivation. This R&D project will provide valuable information that has the potential to legitimize the use of energy-saving LED technology not only in the cannabis industry, but also in controlled environment agriculture as a whole. The data will also be used to analyze how the installation of LED fixtures can tie into utility rebates and programs and to create cost analysis scenarios that producers can use to justify selection of lighting technologies for their facilities.
Through our collaboration with the Department of Environmental Health, DRC has the opportunity to engage with Xcel Energy, Denver Water and Denver Wastewater Management in the development of resource conservation strategies for the cannabis industry. DRC presented the utility service providers with information about industry best practices and technologies, specifically about environmental sustainability and efficiency. The utility service providers and DRC worked collaboratively to encourage industry operators to decrease environmental impact, and ultimately helped develop financial incentives for installing environmentally efficient technologies and implementing energy-conserving methodologies. Through these incentive programs, DRC and utility provider partners aim to increase environmental stewardship in the cannabis industry and the community as a whole.
Denver Relief Consulting serves as a trusted advisor to the Denver Department of Environmental Health, which is responsible for advising industry operators regarding effective and sustainable approaches to energy use. DRC has partnered with the Department in order to consult on environmental efficiencies and technologies that have been tested and proven within DRC facilities. Kayvan Khalatbari currently Co-Chairs a committee within the Department, and DRC overall helps them gain reliable information by providing accurate data regarding the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities. As a result of this partnership, DRC now reviews all Department-produced materials intended for cannabis business operators. DRC and the Department of Environmental Health plan to provide collaborative comments on future regulations in order to encourage the industry to develop sustainably.
Founded in 1987, Jewish Family Service is a nonsectarian, nonprofit human services agency that serves metro Denver and Boulder. JFS aims to restore well-being to vulnerable populations in the Denver community by delivering services based on Jewish values. JFS programs are varied, and activities include providing food and financial aid to people in crisis, aiding independently-living seniors, providing mental health services, and employment training and placement for those with barriers to employment. The JFS Weinberg Food Pantry accepts produce harvested by Ekar Farms and its volunteers.
The Harm Reduction Action Center is a Colorado-based non-profit organization that works to improve public health by reducing harms associated with drug use. The organization provides services aimed at curbing the spread of disease among intravenous drug users and reducing the incidence of accidental overdoses. The HRAC also works collaboratively with a variety of parties, including lawmakers, law enforcement, and health providers, to achieve the goal of a safer and healthier Colorado. In 2014, the DRC team contributed to the Harm Reduction Action Center’s annual Thanksgiving Potluck, which provided a homemade thanksgiving meal to many intravenous drug users who utilize the HRAC’s services, and continues to support them by helping with monthly neighborhood cleanups near their offices, and sponsoring naloxone trainings to help educate people in overdose prevention.
Ekar Farm is the largest donation-based nonprofit Organic Urban Farm in the nation and through their work with the GREEN TEAM, Denver Relief Consulting has helped to donate 10,000 lbs of fresh produce to food banks, food pantries and pay-what-you-can restaurants — most of which was eaten within 48 hours of harvesting. Offering educational programming and communal gardening days, Ekar Farm seeks to pass along a tradition of sustainable farming to the next generation.
The Denver Rescue Mission is a long-standing full-service charity based in Denver. The organization is non-denominational, and provides services to all, regardless of gender, race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, handicap, sexual orientation, or any other status. The Denver Rescue Mission serves people in need, with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens. Services provided include emergency food and shelter, a clinic, the provision of basic hygiene products, rehabilitation, and a variety of family-oriented services. Some of the meals provided to those in times of crisis are made with produce donated by Ekar Farms, harvested in collaboration with the Green Team.
The Denver Relief GREEN TEAM was the vision of Denver Relief co-founder Ean Seeb, who — along with his partners, Kayvan Khalatbari and Nick Hice — wanted a way to extend the charity work they were doing in other areas of their lives to their medical marijuana business. The goal was to show that cannabis business owners can be as invested in their neighborhoods as any business, by giving back to the communities that support them.
The Green Team was founded as a volunteer-based community outreach program in conjunction with Denver Relief’s retail, cultivation, and infused product operations. Denver Relief Consulting is now deeply engaged in Green Team work and members of the DRC team are currently responsible for organizing and overseeing Green Team events. We are currently in the process of converting the Green Team to a 501(c)(3) in an effort to expand our community service network nationwide.
In 2010, they began by organizing friends and patients to help clean up Denver’s Civic Center Park at the annual 4/20 rally. Rally goers were notorious for leaving behind all manners of trash, and the public perception shifted against them, painting all supporters of cannabis as “squalid” and “disrespectful.” Four years later, the GREEN TEAM spoke to the 4/20 crowds of 50,000+ and handed out over 375 trash bags, with more than 100 volunteers taking up the cause.
Soon, the GREEN TEAM began branching out to other areas of need, including hosting wheelchair and bike repair clinics outside of the dispensary during the summer. For patients that already had mobility issues, these simple repairs meant huge increases in their quality of life.
The GREEN TEAM also takes part in a monthly series of events during the summer at EKAR Farms, which provides fresh, organic vegetables to families in need around the Denver metro area via the Jewish Family Service and Denver Rescue Mission food pantries.
In addition, the GREEN TEAM regularly collects winter coats, canned and non-perishable food items, toys for children in towns struck by natural disasters, and hygiene products for the Harm Reduction Action Center.
One of the premier local Jewish historical societies in the United States, the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society is the largest and most exhaustive historical society of its kind in the region. In addition to his other impressive work on behalf of the Jewish community, Ean Seeb serves on the Board of Directors of the RMJHS, and helps to preserve the fascinating history of the Jewish community in the West by providing rich archives, exhibits, and resources for scholars and individuals interested in historical research through this incredibly important organization
A global environmental leader, the Jewish National Fund, has planted more than 250 million trees, built hundreds of reservoirs and dams, created parks, developed hundreds of thousands of acres of land, and provided infrastructure for more than 1,000 communities. This nonprofit organization–operating for more than 100 years–has evolved to be the force behind many notable contributions to the global community. The JNF has proved to be a central force in building Israel’s future by protecting, revitalizing, developing, and preserving the land in accordance with long-term visions and in response to pressing contemporary crises. Though our annual sponsorship, DRC continues to contribute to the organization’s goal of environmental betterment.
Co-founded by Ean Seeb, E-3 Events is a community organization that produces events that bridge pop culture with traditional Jewish values, providing a connection to Jewish life for the secular and the religiously affiliated alike. E-3 Events is the genius behind Heebonism, which was an annual celebration of young Jewish culture during the holiday season that took place for nearly a decade. Aside from providing an enjoyable environment for young people to mix and mingle, Heebonism and other E-3-produced events encourage charitable engagement by discounting event tickets for those who donate perishable goods.
Ean Seeb has served on the Board of Directors for the Mountain States region of the Anti-Defamation League since 2009. A national organization founded in 1913, the ADL is one of the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agencies. In addition to fighting anti-Semitism, the organization works to counter all forms of bigotry, deter and oppose hate crimes, defend democratic ideals, protect civil rights, and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. As Board Member for the Mountain States region, Ean assists the organization in achieving these laudable goals in Colorado and Wyoming.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is a grassroots-based international student network that advocates for sensible drug policy at the local, state, and federal level. SSDP has an impressive history of student-run campaigns for sensible drug policy and has encouraged thousands of college-age students to engage in the political process for a safer and more just future. Kayvan Khalatbari sits on the Board of Trustees for the SSDP, and DRC is proud to contribute to SSDP in a sponsorship role. In addition to sponsoring SSDP through DRC, Kayvan has been a long-time donor through his local pizza chain, Sexy Pizza, which dedicates proceeds from a special menu item to SSDP. The DRC team has included two SSDP alumnae in the past, who each filled leadership roles in their respective chapters, and we look forward to supporting the youth of tomorrow.
As a member of the Marijuana Policy Project, DRC works to change federal law to allow states the freedom to craft novel cannabis policies. MPP has been a central force in state cannabis reform campaigns and initiatives, including Amendment 64 in Colorado, and is well-known for lobbying and ballot initiative efforts as well as sensible cannabis education. By holding a membership with MPP, Denver Relief Consulting is contributing to successful state-level cannabis reform campaigns, which are creating a wave of change in cannabis policy nationwide.
The Drug Policy Alliance, is among the most impressive and well-known drug policy reform organizations in the US and worldwide, and promotes drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights. As a contributing member, DRC helps the organization ensure that drug policies will no longer result in the arrest, incarceration, disenfranchisement, and harm of millions of people. The DPA envisions and promotes drug policies based on the policy of harm reduction and special consideration for young people and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. In addition to active membership with the DPA, DRC is proud to have hired one of their policy interns to be an associate consultant on our team!
The Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation aims to promote and advance responsible regulation of the cannabis industry in a manner that benefits society, and encourages other states and nations to adopt similar laws, policies, and regulations. As a member of this council, Kayvan Khalatbari is contributes to a collaborative organization that includes both cannabis policy reform advocates and cannabis industry entrepreneurs. The combined knowledge and experience of these two groups enables the organization to strategically advocate for reforms and serve as a resource to elected officials, government agencies, and other stakeholders in implementing responsible regulation of the cannabis industry.
Ean Seeb and Kayvan Khalatbari sit on the Board of Directors for the National Cannabis Industry Association, which advances the interests of the legitimate and regulated cannabis industry by working to ensure that the emerging cannabis sector — which creates thousands of jobs, millions in tax revenue, and billions in economic activity — is treated fairly under federal law. NCIA is composed of responsible cannabis industry businesses that have come together to ensure that the industry is represented in a professional and coordinated way on the national stage. The legislative efforts, the professional network, and the responsible business practices resulting from NCIA’s work serve to expand and further legitimize the legal cannabis market in the United States.