Trail Blazers is a series of portraits by photographer Maria Levitov, spotlighting cannabis consumers from all walks of life.
Plenty of Denver residents like to blame the city's influx of newcomers and rising real estate prices over the past few years on legal cannabis. Even if that were true, though, we can't overlook all of the culture and innovation that pot has lured to the Mile High. Musician Nicholas Caputo, for example, recently moved here from Gainesville, Florida, "to pursue art and engage with cannabis culture." He also wanted to treat his depression with cannabis.
“As a musician and a person who has confronted the trials of living with manic depression, the creative and calming effects of cannabis have been essential in contributing to my quality of life," he says.
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"The recreational availability of cannabis is lovely, but the legal availability of medicine is what I hope to advocate for," Caputo continues. "Far too many people across this country are targeted and imprisoned for their cannabis use, and for some, it is truly the difference between living a life with pain and mental unrest, or living freely. I hope to further break down the social stigmas [for] those who may benefit from this medicine but live in silence or fear."
"Those people deserve access to the medicinal qualities of cannabis that alleviate the symptoms of mental illness and pain without the use of pharmaceuticals. May those who seek freedom from pain and suffering benefit from the plants available to us on this earth, and be free from the legal repercussions of living in places where freedom through its uses are stigmatized and targeted,” Caputo concludes.