Retail marijuana was a hot topic Friday night at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.
Roughly 40 community members attended the cannabis forum to hear Maybell resident Kris Brannan discuss the idea of repealing Moffat County Ordinance 2013-02, which banned the operation of marijuana cultivation and sales facilities within the county.
While the rest of the state is earning millions in sales and generating millions in sales and excise tax revenue, Brannan said it makes sense for Moffat County to get involved. To lure to the event, she spent roughly $2,000 on postal mailings about the forum to nearly every address in the county.
“I can make about $100 on an acre of hay,” Brannan said at the forum. “But a gentleman I met who was transporting marijuana said I can make $2,500 off of one plant (of marijuana).”
Brannan had resident Larry Hoover speak about the positive economic impact that lifting the ban could have on the county.
Hoover’s main point centered around the tax revenue and jobs that creating a cultivation facility could create. Citing numbers from Garfield County, Hoover said marijuana is a growth industry that needs to be utilized.
“In fiscal year 2011-12 Garfield County reported $7 million in medicinal marijuana sales. That’s just medical,” he said. “Their first quarter projection for this year is $6 million. Don’t we deserve the opportunity to participate in this industry?”
Hoover said Moffat County is missing out on too much money. He also said that only the communities producing retail pot sales can benefit from tax revenues.
“They (the state) send it all back to the jurisdictions participating,” he said. “If you don’t participate in Moffat County, you don’t get any money.”
No one at the forum vehemently opposed the repeal of the ordinance, but those who did speak up said a repeal needs to be done the right way.
“To me, the legalization issue has been decided,” said Steve Fulton. “It comes down to being handled responsibly.”
Fulton referenced Moffat County’s proximity to the Utah border and the potential trouble that could arise from Utah residents buying legal recreational marijuana and bringing it back into a state where it is illegal.
Brannan invited those in attendance to sign her petition to repeal the county ordinance, which addresses the ordinance on the basis of the of the economic benefits and states that “the reasoning behind Ordinance 2013-02 is no longer valid.”
“The (Moffat County Commissioners) have stated that the purpose of the ordinance is to promote the general public welfare and safety of Moffat County’s residents,” the petition states. “The City of Craig, however, has chosen to permit (medical) marijuana establishments to operate and has seen no reduction in the health, welfare or safety of its citizens.”
The marijuana establishment referred to is the Craig Apothecary, a medical marijuana dispensary.
The petition also addressed the commissioners’ original reason for enacting a moratorium, which was following the precedent from 51 percent of Moffat County voting down Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado.
Brannan currently has 450 signatures on her petition.
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or email@example.com.