Denver Relief Focuses on Patients, Pizza, Cannabis, and Community: How the Longest Operating Medical Dispensary in Denver Has Kept Its Title
You might not have expected three guys with $4,000 and a half a pound of marijuana to start one of the longest operating and highly respected marijuana dispensaries in the US, but that’s exactly what Kayvan Khalatbari, Ean Seeb, and Nick Hice did. They are the co-founders of Denver Relief, which celebrated its 7th birthday on May 21st, 2016, making it the longest operating medical dispensary in Denver.
Denver Relief is involved in the larger community with a couple of other unconventional businesses. Co-Founder Kayvan Khalatbari also founded Sexy Pizza and Sexpot Comedy, two budding businesses in the city. The combination of a marijuana dispensary, a pizza joint, and a comedy show do seem to make sense, which is maybe part of the reason that Khalatbari, Seeb, and Hice have been so successful.
In additional to these partner businesses, Denver Relief sets itself apart with its involvement in the larger Denver community. They started the GREEN TEAM in 2011 to improve the public perception of cannabis as well as to improve the community. GREEN TEAM now has a handful of dispensaries that are a part of the organization, and it puts on various community events such as gardening, wheelchair repairs, and charity drives to collect donations such as toiletries and food. The company is heavily focused on being a good neighbor to everyone.
Though it can be difficult at times to run a business in the cannabis industry due to the ever changing regulations and the compliance issues that these regulations can bring about, the reward of helping people every day keeps the Denver Relief team coming to work every day. Dispensary manager Tyler Brennan told me, “There’s always one person that you can kind of touch…[always] one customer per day who is really happy that I get to interact with.”
The team is excited that the industry is growing the way it is, and hopes to see the rest of the country adopt the model that Colorado is seeing success with. The business aspect of the legal cannabis industry in Denver is something that still comes as a surprise to many, and the Denver Relief team is definitely helping to enforce this professional view of the industry. They also hope to maintain the medical culture that started the legal cannabis industry. “We have to remember why we started this,” Brennan says, “Which was to help people who needed help.”