When Colorado voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana, Maybell resident Kris Brannan was looking forward to growing the product and opening a retail pot shop and dispensary.
It would be a far more profitable way to use her 300 acres than just growing alfalfa, she said.
“There’s a huge economic benefit for us now in the marijuana industry. I get ten cents a pound on my hay out here in May, or I can make $4,000 a pound selling marijuana,” she said. “To me, as a farmer, I feel this is a huge economic advantage for all of us.”
Brannan, got her cost estimates from the price recreational marijuana was going for in Denver, and cutting that in half to be conservative.
Brannan was disappointed when she realized Moffat County Commissioners had banned grow-ops and recreational shops within county limits. She was already in the process of opening her marijuana business, Nisbeth Gardens, when she learned about the ban.
“I have no idea what their reasoning is. I think it’s a great money-maker,” she said. “There’s a lot of land out here that I could make marijuana on. I could get out of debt really quick.”
Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said the board was acting on behalf on the voters when they passed a year-long moratorium banning grow-ops and recreational sales of marijuana.
“We’re going off a legal vote. The majority said they didn’t want it. We put a one-year moratorium on it,” he said. “When that year’s up and we see how places are doing it.”
But, Brannan said that puts her at a disadvantage. So, she put together a petition to press commissioners to overturn their ban or to put the ban on the November ballot: giving county voters the opportunity to overturn it.
“Since it’s been legal in Steamboat (Springs) for recreational purposes there haven’t been any incidents,” she said. “So we will all be prepared for it to go to the voters. The economics are there. The jobs are there. We need help with our schools.”
Mathers reiterated the board’s decision was based on how the county voted on Amendment 64, the law that legalized recreational marijuana.
“She’s got the right to run that petition. I don’t know if the petition is going to make that much of a difference,” he said. “If it passes then, we’ll follow suit and do what our people tell us to do.”
Shaun Hadley, owner of Craig’s one medical marijuana dispensary, the Craig Apothecary, has one of Brannan’s petitions at his business.
Hadley has faced frustrations with Craig City Council and the county. The city enacted a ban of their own against the sale of recreational marijuana in August, meaning that his business had to stick to selling medical marijuana.
“The council and commissioners are making decisions based on prejudice,” he said.
Brannan expects the people of Moffat County will turn over the ban, she said.
“I don’t think the voters will turn it down. I think they will pass this,” she said.
Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.