Cannabis: Colorado’s budding industry


Breathes’s grandmother would probably like Denver Relief. With its fat leather sofas, potted palms and water cooler, the reception could be a dentist’s waiting room were it not for the waft of cannabis that hits you as soon as you walk through the door. (This comes from the plants alone, not from marijuana smoke – lighting up in a dispensary is illegal.) I hand over my driving licence to a receptionist behind bulletproof glass and browse through volumes of an expensive-looking coffee-table book called The Cannabible: glossy photographs of different marijuana strains, richly shot and glistening under studio lights, with names such as Early Queen and Blue Stupor.

The dispensary’s owners, Ean Seeb, 37, and Kayvan Khalatbari, 29, are two smokers not apparently devoid of ambition. As well as owning the Denver Relief dispensary and employing 12 full-time staff, they’re CEOs of Denver Relief Consulting, advising 70 clients around the country on how to operate within the marijuana industry. They’re also founder members of the National Cannabis Industry Association, a political lobby group fighting for the industry in Washington. No one knows for sure what Denver Relief is worth – there’s no reliable industry data – but Seeb and Khalatbari say $5m-$10m is a conservative estimate. They pay $100,000 annually in sales tax, “enough to cover at least one city council member’s entire budget for the year”, Seeb says with a smile.

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