Town of Hayden reaping rewards from marijuana harvest | SteamboatToday.com

Town of Hayden reaping rewards from marijuana harvest

Marijuana issues in Routt County

HAYDEN — For the first time, the town of Hayden has started to receive tax revenue from sales of marijuana.

More than two years ago, Hayden officials and residents began debating whether to allow licensed marijuana growers, which would then sell their product to manufacturers and retailers outside of town. Retail marijuana sales are still prohibited in Hayden.

Some town officials hoped tax revenue from marijuana sales would help close gaps in the budget and pay for infrastructure improvements.

In August 2015, the Hayden Town Board signed off on allowing grow operations, and voters approved an excise tax the following November.

Three growers expressed an interest in doing business in Hayden, but Emerge Farms was the only one to open.

"It was a long haul to get here," mayor Jim Haskins said. "I think the business that is up there operating is one that we have a lot of confidence and trust in. We feel really good about that because I think there was a lot of apprehension."

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In December, Emerge Farms sold 80 pounds of marijuana buds, according to an excise tax filed with the town Jan. 22.

With an average market wholesale price of $404.74 per pound, the taxable sales in December were $32,374.02.

With a local excise tax of 7.5 percent, the town received a check for $2,428.05 for December sales. That amount is expected to grow to $10,000 per month as the business ramps up production.

"It's $10,000 we didn't have," Haskins said. "I would say overall I'm pretty happy."

Town Manager Mathew Mendisco said they have received encouraging news from the Emerge Farms operators.

"Their grow expectations are exceeding what they thought it would, according to them," Mendisco said.

Haskins said town officials have had discussions with Emerge Farms about future operations, which could include allowing the production of marijuana extracts.

"That could potentially bring in more money than the grow facility," Haskins said.

He said there have also been discussion about industrial hemp production.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.