Editorial: Lift retail pot ban in Moffat County, Craig
March 21, 2014
Renee Campbell, newspaper representative (abstain)
Noelle Leavitt Riley, newspaper representative
Sheli Steele, newspaper representative
Hal Glanville, community representative
Jobeth Haydon-Tupa, community representative
Eldon Holland, community representative
Moffat County has a very ambitious community member — Kris Brannan.
The Maybell resident sent snail mail fliers to all residents with 81625 zip codes, promoting a cannabis forum that was held Friday night at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.
She told the Craig Daily Press that she spent nearly $2,000 on the mailings to raise awareness and garner support to overturn Moffat County's ban on retail marijuana cultivation and sales.
Topics promoted on her oversized postcard mailing included the "future cannabis industry economics in Moffat County and current Colorado laws on cannabis cultivating, dispensaries and retail stores."
The Craig Daily Press printed an article in February about Brannan wanting to overturn the ban on retail pot in the county. She owns a 300-acre hay farm in Maybell and claims that she can make $4,000 per pound selling marijuana compared to 10 cents per pound selling hay.
We checked her math, and she is correct. According to the USDA website, small bales of hay in Northwestern Colorado are selling for $8 per bale. Small bales typically weigh at about 50 to 75 pounds. If you divide the figures, hay sells for between 10 to 16 cents per pound.
Retail marijuana sells for about $150 to $300 per ounce and there are 16 ounces in a pound, according to Kevin Fisher, co-owner of Rocky Mountain Remedies, a retail pot shop in Steamboat Springs.
So, yes, Brannan could sell marijuana for about $4,000 per pound. Yet there's more that goes into it than that, Fisher said, noting that state fees and compliance is costly.
The point Brannan is trying to make is that pot is more profitable than hay. She wants a piece of the pie, but she can't slice into the profits because of the moratorium on marijuana cultivation and recreational sales in Moffat County.
We understand her notion. Right now, marijuana profits and tax revenue are going directly to Steamboat Springs in Routt County. Moffat County, and more importantly the city of Craig, needs more money. We think the city and county should lift the ban on retail pot.
Pot is a much less dangerous drug than meth, heroin and even alcohol. Northwest Colorado has had issues with all of those drugs for quite some time.
We certainly understand that the Moffat County Commissioners and Craig City Council are trying to be cautious and appease the wishes of the voters who have been concerned about expanding its use. However, since appropriate and effective state regulations have been put it place and mayhem has not resulted from the legalization, maybe it's time to ask Moffat County and Craig residents to vote on the issue again, especially now that the state revealed the multimillion tax figures on retail pot sales.
Colorado gained roughly $2 million in taxes in the month of January alone, according to state figures.
It's legal in our state and readily available locally, so let's legalize it in Craig and Moffat County.
With that said, we must highlight that it's still concerning that it's not legal federally, but that doesn't seem to have too much of an affect on the booming weed business in Colorado.
It's time for residents like Brannan to make a profit, and the city and county sure could use the tax money.