As a native Coloradan, community leader, and above all else a young father, I cannot help but be concerned about what is happening with the marijuana industry.  I have always been interested in how things work, what motivates people, who influences change, leadership dynamics, business, community, and the overall economics of life, so it is not surprising I find myself interested in an issue that includes all of these topics.

While doing my homework on getting to know this space, I have come up with a few observations.

  • There is contention between recreational marijuana and medical marijuana.  This contention is also complimented by conflicts of interest.  These two components create a clear goal of having their business expansion take priority over community impact.
  • Loyalty and civility are the only ingredients you won’t find included in the seemingly endless different types of marijuana available.  Whether it’s a lack of loyalty or civility amongst industry leaders, their lobbyists, or even the coalitions pushing for their own regulatory paradigm to win out, Colorado remains the Wild West.
  • Money, money, money, almost all of the topics directly or indirectly have a layer of financial factors.  Whether it is the billions in revenue, promised charitable activities, and the countless community costs, there is an economic angle to it all.
  • Leadership, who are the leaders, where are they, who pays them, who do they pay, what are they united on, what are they divided on?  Leadership or the absence of leadership impacts all issues, organizations, ideas, and communities.  This will be an area I will find especially interesting to learn more about.

Exploring these topics and many more, are just the beginnings of the journey I am on.  Investigation, strategy, exposure, accountability, challenging the status quo, backed by a fearlessly empowered community is what it will take to save Colorado from Canna-balizing itself.

-Justin Luke Riley

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