Every time we wrap up an issue, I make a little bet with myself about which stories I think will garner the loudest reader response. Often, it’s easy to figure out what people will sound off about: Last month we published our annual ranking of the 25 best restaurants in the metro area, and everyone seemed to have an opinion (“I love that issue!”; “You’re a bunch of idiots!”). One month earlier, senior staff writer Robert Sanchez wrote a “wonderful,” “honest” piece that captured “the fear, the heartbreak, and the devastation” of the 2013 Colorado floods. In May, senior editor Natasha Gardner’s deeply moving personal essay on living with multiple sclerosis, which readers called “beautiful” and “courageous,” received national acclaim.

Assuming you’ve seen the cover of this issue, you can probably guess what I’m putting my money on this time around. Yes, we’ve written about the cultural, legal, and commercial implications of Colorado’s grand experiment in cannabis legalization before, but this is the first time we’ve put weed on the cover. Some people are going to hate it; some people are going to love it. Regardless of where you stand on the marijuana issue, I hope you’ll read Sanchez’s feature, “The Short, Happy Life Of Colorado Harvest Company Plant No. 4045,” which follows one clone from its beginnings to its sale at a recreational pot shop, and in so doing tells the story of this burgeoning industry.

But…I could be wrong. This issue has a wide variety of stories that we hope will pique reader interest just as much as Sanchez’s feature on weed. In fact, this issue has been one of the more dynamic ones I’ve worked on in my seven years at the magazine, in large part because of the breadth and depth of the stories you’ll find in the following pages. We explore the Front Range’s impressive culture of innovation in “Big Ideas,” Native American religious freedoms (or lack thereof) in “The Feather,” one of the most neglected neighborhoods in Denver in “Welcome To Globeville,” and how financial challenges are affecting Denver Public Schools in “Minding The Bottom Line.” I hope you’ll enjoy each of these pieces, and everything else in this issue, as much as I did. And whether you love it or loathe it, drop us a line to let us know what you think.

This article was originally published in 5280 November 2014.
Geoff Van Dyke
Geoff Van Dyke
Geoff Van Dyke is the editorial director of 5280 Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffVanDyke