Legal marijuana at risk under Trump banner



The major topic explored in this slideshow is marijuana legalization, the affect it already has on the city of Denver, the state of the Colorado, the people within it and how Trump’s presidency will affect all this. I was trying to tell this story through relevant pictures that help visually show the industry, the users, the law and the drug that all are dependent on.


The story of legal weed in Colorado, and how it will be affected by Trump is in actuality a mixture of stories regarding the weed industry already in place in the state, so I wanted my slideshow to depict these stories via the agents of the Users, the Industry and the Law

I wanted to place the stories in a college context,  so many of the shots are of student users and businesses near the university. The student source I interviewed was very helpful in letting me shoot them smoking as well as their “tools” of the trade. I also really wanted to show how expansive the industry is and how it surrounds all of us. This is why I have two photos of dispensaries in the slideshow, as well as the shot of Broadway which is a hotspot for dispos. I shot photos at altering distances and at different times of day and in different light. Some are at night, some are during “golden hour” and some shots are up-close macro shots. I tried to keep anonymity in all of my shots and focused on exploring the subject of legal weed without getting anyone in trouble. I also wanted to photograph the actual drug up close and personal, as well as a photo of the state capital for the “Law” portion of the legal marijuana story.


One of the major issues was my lack of access to the industry, I found it impossible to get access to a growhouse or dispo, which was a detriment as those photos would have been very helpful. I learned that people will look at you funny if you are standing outside their dispensary photographing. I took many photos, but chose the ones that best told the stories I mentioned above and that had the best aesthetic/artistic qualities.


My slideshow links up with my Issue Story as some of the shots are of a source for that story, and many of the shots were taken with the story in mind (i.e. I took specific pictures to match the sections of my story and quotes within it). The photo project made me realize just how expansive and prevalent the legal marijuana industry is, it is really everywhere around us. This became especially apparent when I went to South Broadway to photograph dispos and was overwhelmed by the choices.

2 Responses to Legal marijuana at risk under Trump banner

  • Kat Weaver says:

    Hi Justin! I’m really impressed with your slideshow. I think your lighting, angles, depth of field and framing is spot-on in every photo, making for some really dramatic shots. The placement of text/captions are strong and easy to read as well. I particularly like your outdoor/nighttime shots and the contrast between light and dark your photos.

  • Angel Gonzalez says:

    Hey Justin, I really like your slideshow. I found the photos to be really diverse and creative. What camera were you using for this? I could totally see how getting shots would be difficult, specially the federally mandated part.

Leave a Reply