Get up, stand up

When you love where you live and what you do, it is a thrilling and contented state of being. There is perhaps no finer opportunity in our country than to express this type of sentiment within our local government. We are lucky to live within a democracy that provides a forum for ideas; Bob Marley sang it well, “Get up, Stand up.” The City Council of Grand Junction allowed me my civic privilege to share the innovative and unique business model of Invest in GJ LLC, and they listened to our prescription for recreational marijuana sales in Grand Junction.

Last year, the voters of Grand Junction approved the sale of Marijuana and granted the City Council the decision authority to develop a plan for issuing licenses. Since then, the City Council has been holding hearings and listening to the community and industry professionals on how they ought to think about licensure. The marijuana industry has been pushing for unlimited licenses and a merit-based system that will benefit many of the larger existing marijuana organizations across the state. Prosono has been working with local healthcare leaders, community leaders, and government officials to create Invest in GJ. This alternative concept could make a significant public benefit to the local economy to help address social determinants of health.

Our concept is simple. We desire a portion, if not all the licenses, be awarded to a for-profit Benefit Corporation called Invest in GJ to ensure that the profits from the sale of marijuana are used in Grand Junction. A Benefit Corporation operates as a for-profit business but also employs three additional legal attributes: Accountability, Transparency, and Purpose. Accountability forces us to consider the impact of our actions on shareholders, but also employees, customers, and the greater community. Transparency ensures that we conduct third-party assessments on the overall social and environmental performance on an annual and public basis. Purpose drives our desire to reduce health care costs by creating better access to Social Determinants of Health resources in Grand Junction.

In our model, Invest in GJ will contribute profits, above operating expenditures, and necessary capital investments back into the Grand Junction community. This is our mission. We achieve this by putting profits into a local non-profit or grantor organization. Our financial assessment indicates a potential return upwards of $2.6 million annually to provide the basis for matching contributions. Grand Junction would have greater revenue and ability to help address housing concerns, food access, workforce development, and health care access for local community members.

We hope that the City Council of Grand Junction will support and recognize our sincere objective to enhance and promote our community through a timely and progressive approach. We see this as a business opportunity and a partnership that will bestow better possibilities for our population, and we are seeking public intent and avenues for more funding. We want to work with our elected officials, the City Council and District Attorney, to create meaningful license reporting measures to ensure adherence to the intended and stated outcomes. Lastly, we hope that the City Council may grant us an exploratory period during which we may use the peaked interest to raise the capital for the first few stores and complete all legal reviews and announce any potential non-profit partners.

Invest in GJ believes that our community is worth building, restoring, and enriching. With the support of our local leaders and the maverick approach of entrepreneurs and hard-working citizens, we can together build from within. We applaud our City Council for the forum to share our community aspirations and long-term goals. Together we will get up, stand up, and not lose the desire to fight for what is right.