Pioneers in Progress
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.
Our collaboration with the Department of Environmental Health in Denver provides 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. This includes the development of financial incentives for installing environmentally efficient technologies and implementing energy-conserving methodologies. Through the development of the incentive programs, DRC and utility provider partners aim to increase environmental stewardship in the cannabis industry and the community as a whole.
The Denver Department of Environmental Health is responsible for advising industry operators regarding the most effective and sustainable approaches to energy use and reduced environmental impact. DRC partnered with the Denver Department of Environmental Health to consult on environmental efficiencies and technologies for the cannabis industry. Kayvan currently Co-Chairs a committee within the Department and DRC overall helps them gain reliable information about the industry by providing accurate data regarding energy use and the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities. DRC serves as a trusted advisor to the Department on sustainable practices that have been tested and proven to be effective within the DRC facilities. As a result of this partnership, DRC now reviews Department-produced materials intended for cannabis business operators that address environmental efficiency or stewardship. DRC and the Department of Environmental Health plan to provide collaborative comments on future regulations in an effort to encourage the industry to develop a sustainable future.
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.
The GREEN TEAM holds monthly urban gardening events at Ekar Farm during the summer months in which individuals from the cannabis industry help tend and harvest organic vegetables that are provided to Denver families in need.
Ekar Farm is a communal urban farm inspired by Jewish values. The farm produces fruits and vegetables using sustainable methods, while building community and providing experiential and environmental education. Since 2009, Ekar Farm has engaged 1,000 volunteers in growing 25,000 pounds of urban organic vegetables. Ekar Farm donates 85% of the harvest to the Weinberg Food Pantry, SAME Café and food relief agencies, feeding 2,500 people per month during harvest season.
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 and Nick, wanted a way to extend the charity work they were doing in other areas of the community to medical marijuana. The goal was to show that business owners in our industry are the same as any others 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.
In addition to his other impressive work on behalf of the Jewish community, Ean is on the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society. The RMJHS is one of the premier local Jewish historical societies in the United States and is the largest and most exhaustive historical society of its kind in the region. The RMJHS preserves the fascinating history of the Jewish community in the West while providing rich archives, exhibits, and resources for scholars and individuals interested in historical research.
The Jewish National Fund, is a global environmental leader. Planting more than 250 million trees; building hundreds of reservoirs and dams; creating parks; developing hundreds of thousands of acres of land; and providing infrastructure for more than 1,000 communities; are some of JNF’s notable contribution to the global community. This nonprofit organization–operating for more than 100 years–has evolved to be the force behind many various projects and campaigns. 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.
E-3 Events is a community organization co-founded by our own Ean Seeb. E-3 Events produces events that bridge popular culture with traditional Jewish values, providing a connection to Jewish life for the secular and the religiously affiliated alike. E-3 Events is behind Heebonism, which is an annual celebration of young Jewish culture during the holiday season that has been ongoing 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 through formats such as discounting event tickets for those who donate perishable goods.
For the past seven years, Ean Seeb has served on the Board of Directors for the Mountain States region of the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL is a national organization, founded in 1913, which is comprised of leaders fighting anti-Semitism and hate. The ADL is one of the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agencies, which seeks to secure justice and fair treatment for all. In addition to fighting anti-Semitism, the organization works to counter all forms of bigotry, deter and oppose hate crimes, defend democratic ideals, and protect civil rights for all. As a member of the Board 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 sits on the Board of Trustees for the SSDP and DRC is proud to report that we have recently begun to contribute to SSDP in a sponsorship role. In addition to sponsoring SSDP, 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 currently includes two SSDP alumnae who each filled leadership roles in their respective chapters.
Denver Relief Consulting is also a member of the Marijuana Policy Project, which is a large organization that focuses solely on ending cannabis prohibition in the United States. MPP works to change federal law to allow states the freedom to craft novel cannabis policies and has been a central force in state cannabis reform campaigns and initiatives, including Amendment 64 in Colorado. MPP is involved in cannabis reform at the state and federal level, and is well-known for lobbying and ballot initiative efforts and 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.
Denver Relief Consulting is a member of the Drug Policy Alliance, which is among the most impressive and well-known drug policy reform organizations in the US and worldwide. DPA promotes drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights. As a contributing member, DRC helps the organization work to ensure that drug policies no longer result in the arrest, incarceration, disenfranchisement, and harm of millions of people. The Drug Policy Alliance 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 holding a membership with DPA and attending the annual national conferences, DRC hired one of DPA’s policy interns to be an associate consultant on the DRC team.
Kayvan is on the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation. CRCR 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. CRCR is 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 and Kayvan both sit on the Board of Directors for the National Cannabis Industry Association, which is the only national trade association that advances the interests of the legitimate and regulated cannabis industry. NCIA works 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.