Statements on marijuana by Trump’s press secretary spark local concerns
February 24, 2017
Steamboat Springs — When Rocky Mountain Remedies co-owner Kevin Fisher began selling medical marijuana in August 2009, he knew he was going into a business filled with uncertainties.
He has had many battles and victories along the way, including the passage of Amendment 64, which allowed him to begin selling recreational marijuana in January 2014.
Perhaps the biggest threat is that for the past seven and a half years he has been breaking federal law by selling marijuana at his Steamboat Springs retail pot shop.
"It feels like 50 years because there are always these existential threats," Fisher said.
The entire marijuana industry was reminded of the uncertainty Thursday when President Donald Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer answered a question about medicinal marijuana.
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"There is a big difference from that and recreational marijuana," Spicer said.
As far as recreational marijuana goes, Spicer said that on a federal level, "I do believe that you'll see greater enforcement of it."
"What Sean Spicer says during press conferences doesn't necessarily reflect what the administration's policies are," Fisher said.
Still, Fisher said it has created an unsettling feeling in the marijuana industry.
"I'm not super happy," Fisher said. "I would have been happier if Sean Spicer said marijuana is a states’ rights issue."
A majority of Colorado voters have made it clear they support recreational marijuana.
"It's certainly a states’ rights issue, and I think it will take a long time to fester back down," Steamboat Springs City Council President Walter Magill said.
In 2016, $10.8 million worth of marijuana was sold in Steamboat generating $431,113 in tax revenue for the city.
Magill said the loss of that revenue would have a slight impact.
"It's 2 to 3 percent of our overall tax revenue," Magill said.
The Colorado Department of Revenue collected $141 million in revenue from taxes, licenses and fees from the medical and retail marijuana businesses in 2016.
Despite potential changes to the way the federal government might enforce its laws in individual states, Rodney McGowen still plans to build a marijuana grow facility in Hayden.
He said Spicer's comments were concerning, but he is still trying to raise the money to build.
"It's really too soon to see what's going on," McGowen said.