Author Kate Simmons

Kayvan Khalatbari

He co-founded one of the first dispensaries in Denver and, earlier this month, he sold it to Willie Nelson for his Willie’s Reserve operation. Now Kayvan Khalatbari, who was featured in our January 2, 2014, roundup of leading ganjapreneurs, is looking ahead to other ways he can contribute to Denver’s ever-evolving culture through art and advocacy. Khalatbari sat down with Westword to discuss what he’s doing next, his thoughts on Denver’s growth, and whether he’d consider another run for Denver City Council or even mayor.

Westword: Talk about the Cannabis Symposium in October.

Kayvan Khalatbari: It’s a symposium on October 26, which is the front end of the Marijuana Management Symposium the city throws at the convention center. We’re going to have a day totally committed to stewardship and have all these traditional folks, utility and technology people, operators in the industry, come and speak about what you can do right now that will impact the business positively and the environment positively, but also long-term best practices that we’re creating internally.

Blue Line Protection Group trains security personnel to protect your weed, and it’s hiring. The cannabis security company is hosting a career fair at its new Denver headquarters at 5765 Logan Street from noon to 7 p.m. on Monday, August 22 — which means today.

Blue Line has seen an increased demand for its services in the cannabis industry and is looking to hire thirty to forty people to fill both part-time and full-time armed and unarmed security jobs across Colorado, but primarily in the metro Denver area.

Baker started out like most startups: with an idea.

Roger Obando had already been in the startup world for nearly twenty years when he started thinking about marijuana and how new technology could improve the industry. He was living in New York in 2014 when a medical marijuana law passed in that state, and he began to research what would soon become a booming industry.

Joel Milton and David Champion were working on a different startup at the time. The three had discussed working together, but it wasn’t until Obando overheard a conversation they were having about the marijuana industry that they realized they shared a passion. They immediately sat down and started brainstorming, Obando recalls.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has denied petitions filed by two former governors and a New Mexico psychiatric nurse practitioner five years ago requesting that the DEA reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I substance, according to documents filed with the Federal Register today. But the agency did decide to end the monopoly on research into the medical benefits of the drug — a move applauded by the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

There is no word yet on when the DEA might consider rescheduling marijuana. But despite an earlier promise by the agency to make an announcement in the first half of 2016, sources now say that the agency has decided to hold off on any decision for this year, as Westword reported last week.

While the DEA made no move on rescheduling, it did announce that it will be expanding the number of places allowed to grow marijuana for research purposes. Currently, the University of Mississippi holds an exclusive contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and has been the only facility federally licensed to grow marijuana.

“The DEA and the FDA continue to believe that scientifically valid and well-controlled clinical trials conducted under investigational new drug (IND) applications are the most appropriate way to conduct research on the medicinal uses of marijuana,” the DEA said in a statement.

Money from marijuana is helping keep Pueblo’s budget out of the red, but in November that green could dry up.

Pueblo City Council determined that residents be allowed to decide whether to stop licensing recreational marijuana stores in a 6 to 1 vote on Monday, August 8. Initially, recreational pot shops were only legal outside of Pueblo city limits, but voters decided to to allow retail shops to operate in Pueblo a year ago.

Note left by Kentucky deputies after confiscating marijuana plants from corn field.

After confiscating about 254 marijuana plants found nestled in a corn field last week, deputies in Grayson County, Kentucky, left the growers a note: Thanks for the weed!

In addition to thanking the still-unknown culprits for the nearly $600,000 worth of marijuana, deputies began to taunt the growers on social media with the hashtag #WeGotYoWeed.

If you see a 28-foot-high marijuana joint fashioned from a car on the side of the Courtyard Marriott at 934 16th Street, don’t be alarmed — or inspired. Part of a giant billboard installed today, the joint is just the latest ploy by the Colorado Department of Transportation to push its  Dangerous Combinations campaign.

The campaign, which launched in May, is part of the larger Drive High, Get a DUI program, and is designed to cut down on the number of people driving while high. Drive High, Get a DUI was established soon after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana; the first year of the program worked to educate people that they could get a DUI if they drove high.

Dear Stoner: I bought a disposable hash pen, and it broke. I took it back to the dispensary (they were great about it and gave me a new one), but the budtender said I could keep my old one and use the liquid for topicals. What did he mean by that?
J Money

Dear Money: Let’s hope that one day these hash pens reach a true level of consistency; I occasionally get one that leaks, too.

You have several options with a leaky pen. If you want to vape the oil, you can buy a pen battery and refillable cartridge at a vape shop and try to siphon the oil from your disposable pen into the empty cartridge. If the budtender suggested using the liquid as a topical, he probably meant that you could mix it with something to rub on your aching joints or muscles for pain relief. The topicals you see at dispensaries are all infused with cannabis oil, which is pretty much the same stuff in your pen (without the vaping liquid), but they come in the form of balms and lotions for easy application, as rubbing hash oil on your body can get messy. However, topicals infused with cannabis oils are high in CBD, not THC. CBD doesn’t get you stoned; it’s used for sleep aid, pain relief and inflammation. So unless you bought a high-CBD pen, rubbing concentrated THC on your skin probably won’t do much more than make it glisten and smell like hash. Perfect hippie bait.

Update: It’s unofficially official. A senior executive at the Drug Enforcement Administration has confirmed that the DEA will not be rescheduling marijuana in 2016, says a local attorney who spoke with him late last week. “The DEA is not going to reschedule marijuana this year … they aren’t issuing a public announcement about the change,” the attorney adds.

Many marijuana advocates — and the legislators who support them — have been hoping that the DEA would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance. The reclassification would acknowledge that the drug holds medical value and allow for more research.

The who’s who of Colorado’s marijuana industry gathered Saturday night for the unveiling of Willie’s Reserve, Willie Nelson’s cannabis company.

To launch his new product, Nelson hosted two kick-off concerts, one last week in Washington state and another on Saturday, July 30, at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

“This event’s been a collection of the people that support the ideals of Willie Nelson. It’s a collection of people that understand that music and cannabis and culture and society all blend together really well,” says pioneering ganjapreneur Kayvan Khalatbari, who’s been working with Willie’s Reserve.

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