Our View: If they grow it, why not sell it?


We were impressed this week with the efforts taken by Oak Creek town officials to educate and reassure residents about plans to develop two marijuana grow centers in that South Routt County community and to explain the economic growth that could result.

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On June 25, the town hosted a panel discussion attended by a representative of one of the two companies planning to operate the growing facilities, as well as officials from Breckenridge, a community that has embraced legalized marijuana. The meeting was a great tool for getting correct information out to the public and educating the community about new businesses coming to town and what that could mean for the local economy long-term.

Park Range Recreationals wants to use the rear portion of a storefront on Main Street in Oak Creek to house a growing operation, and CCC Management plans to add a second story to a former kayak factory to create at 16,000-square-foot grow operation. It’s safe to speculate that some of the pot grown in Oak Creek will be destined for Breckenridge and Summit County.

Brian Rogers, who helped to open Breckenridge Cannabis Club in January, represented CCC on the panel discussion. And Breckenridge Town Manager Tim Gagen also attended.

Gagen got our attention when he told the Oak Creek gathering that the increased availability of legal marijuana seems to “mellow out the drunken party crowd,” in that ski town. He went as far as saying there is less violence associated with marijuana use than with alcohol use.

Gagen also mentioned that Breckenridge has exercised its authority to add  an additional 5 percent tax on retail marijuana on top of regular city sales tax.

But the real message of the night was that Rogers expects his grow operation in Oak Creek to employ 40 people, with the top worker earning six figures.

That’s great economic development, and already some CCC employees have purchased homes in South Routt, according to Rogers. Their salaries will turn over in the local economy at restaurants, shops and the grocery store. Ironically, some of that payroll will make its way to Steamboat Springs, where there are more retail businesses to choose from.

Wouldn’t Oak Creek stand to gain more from its growing pot industry if it encouraged a recreational marijuana store and collected sales tax on some of its harvest? The town might consider allowing one of the two new businesses or its existing medical marijuana dispensary to add a retail outlet. That would allow them to collect 3 percent sales tax, or more, on some of the pot the new businesses will otherwise export.

The locals know better than we do. Perhaps everyone in Oak Creek who wants to smoke or consume edibles already has a medical pot card. But there’s a big tourism destination right next door.

A spokesman from Colorado Parks and Wildlife pointed out to us this week that it’s not legal to smoke marijuana in public, and Stagecoach Lake State Park is a public place. We respect that, and don’t support smoking marijuana around the campfire in a state park campground where neighbors live close to one another. But we think that a portion of the annual visitors to Stagecoach would find a way to discretely consume marijuana and add to the Oak Creek town coffers in the process.

A fiscal analysis produced by CPW shows that Stagecoach saw 149,500 visitors in 2010, and 40 percent ($118,000) of its annual revenues was attributable to its 89 campsites.

Breckenridge wisely uses sales tax receipts from recreational marijuana sales to fund  Marijuana Enforcement Officer Brady Allen, who took part in last week’s panel discussion.

Oak Creek could do something similar if it chose to.


John St Pierre 2 years, 9 months ago

I have been curious how Cities and the state, who collect the taxes on pot in cash (as these pot business's cannot bank accounts) have been allowed to deposit those funds at their banks.... as this is "drug money" and could be considered "money laundering" ??????

Just wondering how we are "selectively" enforcing the drug laws????


mark hartless 2 years, 9 months ago

In case you haven't noticed, we are "selectively enforcing" ALL laws. Attorney General of the US running guns to Mexico. Border Patrol handing out water to the invaders. IRS "losing" potentially incriminating E-mails. President illegally making "recess appointments" while congress is not in recess. NSA reading everyone's E-mail's. Over 28 execctive changes to Obama-care by the President with zero consent from congress. Using drones to kill American citizens without trial. Why would it surprise anyone that States and Counties and Banks follow suit??? Lawlessness is the law of the land.


bill schurman 2 years, 9 months ago

Ah, for the days when the Republicans were in control. Everything was just rosy. Surely you remember, don't 'ya?


mark hartless 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm not opining for the days when Republicans were in control, Bill. I'm saying we should return to when the LAW and Constitution was in control.


Scott Wedel 2 years, 9 months ago

Simple economic fact is that retail marijuana is worth more in Breckenridge than Oak Creek. So why would a grower sell their product in Oak Creek if they have the ability to sell in Breckenridge?

And Oak Creek wrote their retail mj laws to make it expensive for their existing dispensary to switch to retail. The state rules encourage converting from mmj to retail and made it inexpensive by crediting remainder of the time left on the mmj license towards the retail mj license. So, for the state, converting the same sized dispensary to retail costs about the same as remaining medical.

But Oak Creek added new substantial fees to convert to retail and changed the rules on the grow operation from having odor control to being not detectable at the property line. Also until retail stores opened it was not known how popular they would be. There were questions how many people would pay the 30% additional taxes.


The mj businesses are not totally excluded from banking since they are legal businesses according to state laws. Whether they are violating federal laws has not been legally determined. Since Colorado mj is regulated as occurring within the state and cannot legally be sent to other states then there are serious constitutional reasons to believe federal drug laws do not apply to Colorado's intrastate mj industry.

Justice Scalia's opinion upholding a conviction against a California personal medical marijuana grower ignored the small amount of mmj and instead focused on the lack of state regulation. That there was no way to distinguish between her mmj and the interstate mj drug trade. Thus, the point of Colorado's medical and retail mj laws tracking mj from seedling to sale.

This state right is not like claims of "state rights" during the civil rights era because that was attempting to use a state's rights argument to deny constitutionally protected individual rights. This is state right to regulate within the state vs federal ability to regulate within the country.

The flip side is that Colorado's mj also has not been explicitly ruled as legal so banks don't want to be caught in the middle of a legal battle. Allowing customers to use credit cards and checks are particularly troublesome because they are processed according to federal laws.


Fred Duckels 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm not involved but am curios as to the effects of marijuana. From the accounts that I read it seems the equivalent of chemical neutering and makes a persons deportment more acceptable to society.


Michael Bird 2 years, 8 months ago

Clarify please - The owner of SBoat's local mj outlet stated in the Pilot that he accepts debit cards and has a bank account. He also is involved with new outlets in Massachusetts. So what is the problem ? Do what he has done.


Jeff Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

Michael, I don't think this hypothetical owner is willing to share banking information. Hypothetically, they got it covered.

It's curious how other Colorado MJ businesses don't have bank accounts and have difficulty paying taxes:



Michael Bird 2 years, 8 months ago

Jeff, the owner is not a hypothetical owner. His name, name of business, and comments were printed so I don't know what you mean. As he enlarges his successful business activities, he also has established a banking relationship according to his comment. I do not understand your comment. I will also bet a beer ( or two ) you that other smart mj business owners have also established bank accounts.


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