Paul D. James: Pot helps our economy
September 11, 2015
To the editor
A couple of years ago, when Amendment 64 passed in the state of Colorado, the vote lost by four percent here in Moffat County. Since then, we have seen millions of dollars made in Steamboat Springs, which has boosted their already self-sustaining economy all around, increasing tourism and improving the incomes of restaurants, bars and hotels.
Meanwhile, every day, Craig locals are driving to Steamboat and spending money they made in Craig in the next town. For those who missed my last letter, I am the manager of the Craig Apothecary, the town's only medical dispensary. I have sent easily more than a million dollars worth of business to Steamboat this year alone and turned down numerous job applications simply because we can't afford to hire additional employees in the current state.
On top of managing the Craig Apothecary, I spent the last year as a courier within the industry. Because anything containing THC is required by state law to be hand-delivered, there is much work to be done in that area of the industry, and while working, I went across much of the state. I have personally seen the impact recreational cannabis has had in areas that have allowed retail cannabis sales and also the effects of the few (and dwindling) areas that have not allowed it. I dealt with about 100 different dispensaries and at least 30 or 40 manufacturers, and what I saw was incredible. I saw hard-working people everywhere I went, most of them enjoying their jobs. I ate at busy restaurants and stayed at crowded hotels. I was one of the main couriers to the Durango area during their transition to allow retail sales, and I saw hundreds of jobs created and filled, all with smiling faces. Overall, I would say the results have been at least 90 percent positive, especially with new statistics coming out stating that areas allowing recreational cannabis sales have seen a decrease in underage consumption.
Now, I will digress to my initial statement on the four percent by which Amendment 64 lost here in Craig and Moffat County. That four percent has prevented the school district here from receiving millions of dollars during the course of a few years. That four percent has lost other businesses here in town large amount of money from tourism and at least one hundred jobs and the prospect of new businesses opening. To put this more in perspective, Pagosa Springs was recently voted one of the best towns in America, and they have allowed retail cannabis sales and yet still maintain a small town atmosphere. It is possible the threat of harm is almost non-existent compared with the harm of alcohol, and the money for the school district seems basically inconceivable from the point we are at now.
While the option for recreational sales cannot be put onto a ballot until 2016, the Craig city council has the option to allow it at any time. Anyone who would like to help further the push for retail sales is welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope this letter will help to implement an intelligent cannabis policy within my hometown.
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Paul D. James