It's no secret that legalization of marijuana is a controversial topic in many communities. Even in socially progressive states, some citizens are still concerned that the presence of cannabis dispensaries will negatively impact their neighborhoods. In reality, though, many marijuana shops are actually committed to giving back to improve their communities, not just for their own goodwill, but to promote a positive image of the marijuana industry in their neighborhoods. |
One of the dispensaries at the forefront of the movement to improve the image of the cannabis industry in Colorado is Denver Relief, a medical and recreational cannabis center. Back in 2009, Ean Seeb and Kayvan Khalatbari, founders of Denver Relief, created an organization called the Green Team, made up of volunteers dedicated to improving the public opinion of cannabis in Denver. A few of the many outreach programs provided by the Green Team are bicycle and wheelchair repair clinics, food and clothing drives, an annual 4/20 litter cleanup, plus a donation to a different worthy local charity each month.
Another Denver dispensary, The Clinic, takes a fundraising approach to giving back. Since 2010, the Clinic has raised almost $300,000 for the National MS Society through major fundraising events like the Clinic Charity Golf Tournament and Walk MS. The Clinic also supports and promotes other community activities in Denver, most notably Colorado's Pride Fest celebration.
Down in Arizona, Herbal Wellness Center is literally looking for ways to give back. The Phoenix dispensary's website encourages visitors to nominate individuals or families in the community that need help, then the HWC staff steps in. Last Christmas, the staff collected and repaired several used vehicles, made necessary repairs to restore them to excellent working condition, and distributed them to local families in need.
Bloom Dispensaries in Arizona has also made giving back a priority. Their team has raised thousands of dollars for fallen police officers and firefighters, hosted a fundraiser to send a former employee to work at a medical clinic in Haiti with Naturopaths Without Borders, picked up litter in their neighborhood through Phoenix's Adopt-a-Street program, and hosted many other events and fundraisers to support community members and organizations.
Giving back isn't just a way to promote the marijuana industry, it's also good business practice for dispensaries. Participating in community events and fundraisers allows marijuana shops to get their name out into the community while also creating goodwill. And getting involved doesn't have to require a major commitment of time and money. Shops can do everything from hosting canned food drives, toy drives, and coat drives to serving dinner at the local homeless shelter or walking dogs at the animal shelter. The more good dispensaries can do in their communities, the more citizens will understand that their presence is actually a positive thing - and that's a sentiment everyone in the industry can benefit from.
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