When the ball drops and 2015 has arrived, many of us will be grateful to have made it through another year alive, and the retail marijuana industry is no different. New Year's Day marks the one-year anniversary of America's first purchase of recreational cannabis, and the dispensary that helped make it happen wants to celebrate. See also: CNBC Documentary to Examine Colorado Cannabis Industry After First Anniversary
Denver's 3D Cannabis Center became a part of Colorado's unique history when it sold marijuana to Sean Azzariti, a Marine Corps veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress order, on January 1. Azzariti's legal purchase was the first of its kind, and in commemoration of the iconic transaction, 3D Cannabis Center will host a celebratory open house to benefit a Colorado charity, Operation Grow4Vets.
Exactly a year after he made history, Azzariti will once again be the first in line as cannabis activists and enthusiasts gather to celebrate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on New Year's Day.
The open house will also signal a step forward for a young charity organization. Operation Grow4Vets is a group aimed at helping veterans who struggle with prescription drug addiction and anxiety disorders by providing them with medical marijuana. Here's the charity's mission statement:
OUR MISSION: The mission of Operation Grow4Vets is to help reduce the staggering number of Veterans who die each day from suicide and prescription drug overdose. We provide Veterans with the knowledge and resources necessary to obtain or grow their own marijuana for treatment of their medical conditions.
OUR VISION: To raise awareness by enlisting the public's aid and support in ensuring that all injured and wounded Veterans receive the respect and dignity of life that they deserve.
OUR PURPOSE: To provide Veterans with unique products, programs and services designed to assist them in living with injuries sustained while protecting our freedom. Operation Grow4Vets is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Colorado.
A 2010-2012 study performed by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center found that suicide is now the leading cause of death among U.S. soldiers who've gone to war. The study also says that that drugs are the leading cause of death among military members in the U.S.
According to Operation Grow4Vets Executive Director Roger Martin, 3D Cannabis and its owner, Toni Savage Fox, have been an essential donor since day one.
"Toni Savage and 3D Cannabis Centers were our first sponsors and remain ardent supporters of our organization," Martin said in a prepared statement. "We are very excited that Toni and 3D are including us in this event marking that historic moment on Jan 1, 2014 when Toni made the world's first legal cannabis sale."
Savage Fox seems to have set an example for her customers. According to Martin, 3D Cannabis Center customers at its two locations (Denver and Salida) have donated more than $10,000 to Operation Grow4Vets in the past seven months.
"The VA claims 22 veterans take their lives every single day. Most people believe the number to be much higher," Savage Fox said in a press release. "It's time that everyone in the cannabis industry demand that the men and women who have risked everything for us be offered cannabis as a safe alternative to traditional pharma-poison." Have a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.