Shaun Hadley: Craig losing pot money | CraigDailyPress.com

Shaun Hadley: Craig losing pot money

To the editor:

My name is Shaun Hadley. I have owned and operated Craig Apothecary, as well as two other cannabis businesses since 2009. 

There recently was an article in the Craig Daily Press highlighting a meeting that Oak Creek had concerning recreational cannabis. During that meeting, business owners, such as Brian Rogers, explained how it would generate more than 40 new jobs paying more than $500,000 dollars in wages and over $500,000 dollars in taxes. Within three years, Oak Creek no longer will be the broken, dying town it once was, all thanks to cannabis. The warehouse Mr. Rogers is refurbishing previously was occupied by my stores, and had Craig not chosen to ban recreational cannabis sales, those jobs and those tax dollars would have belonged to Craig. When Craig chose not to move forward with recreational, I sold that warehouse and eliminated the 12-plus jobs there, all held by residents of Craig.

This town slowly is dying. Safeway and Family Dollar are gone, and Kmart is next. We can't even fill a room with enough people for a free conference on how to start and run businesses. Federal regulation on mining and power plants will soon cause even more recession. Jobs are near impossible to find. Hunting tourism has peaked and plateaued, no new jobs are on the horizon, and even the new college has not had any sort of noticeable economic impact.

If you had seen Colfax Avenue, Denver, previous to 2009, I ask that you check it out next time you're there. Cannabis has revitalized that entire part of town. Warehouses that stood empty for a decade now are flourishing, remodeled grow houses employing hundreds of Coloradans. Storefronts that had broken windows and sun bleached for rent signs now are home to high-class recreational cannabis stores. And it's not just the dispensary owners profiting — grow supply stores have sprung up all across Denver, even Voo Doo doughnuts came all the way from Portland to open. DIA recorded it's busiest month ever during April. The economy in towns and cities with recreational marijuana is booming at unprecedented rates. No one came close to predicting the amount of revenue that cannabis has generated, not just from sales tax but also the new opportunities that come with it. This is not a passing fad. Tax numbers for cannabis not only have remained steady, they have gone up each month since January. We shouldn't have to fund our own July 4 fireworks when there's thousands of out-of-state residents waiting to come buy cannabis and happily pay 20 percent plus tax (Which Craig could add an additional tax to, if it so chose, generating even more revenue.) 

I've sent over 5,000 people to Steamboat since January, who came to Craig first for recreational cannabis. Potential customers included a gentleman from Canada, a family from Germany and folks from every single state across the U.S., with the exception of Maine and Rhode Island. I tell them "Craig doesn't allow recreational cannabis sales," and then I recommend a great restaurant in Steamboat, as well as a gas station and hotel. They happily drive the extra hour.

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During one of the city council meetings banning recreational sales, one council member said "We don't want that type of person in town or their drug money anyway." Well, I'm here to tell you, that type of person is everyone and that "drug" money spends just the same as the money we make from every other industry. It's time we worry about this town's future.

Shaun Hadley

Craig