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Green business growing strong in Trinidad

TRINIDAD — The marijuana business in Trinidad has grown into the city’s second largest industry, according to City Manager Gabriel Engeland. And not only that, owners of the businesses are refurbishing the buildings they purchase or lease. Some of the buildings they are moving into have been sitting empty and have fallen into a state of disrepair for as long as a decade. The refurbishing of old and dilapidated buildings by the owners and operators in the marijuana industry is a slow process, but when completed, will make the downtown area look more attractive to businesses thinking of relocating or starting up in Trinidad. “It increases the value of the properties as well,” said Engeland. “This dovetails with the city’s near and long term plans for economic development,” said Engeland. “We’ve shifted away from coal and gas, but we’ve not yet shifted to something. Right now this helps us focus on diversifying the local economy, which will help us build a sustainable economy.” So far this year, the marijuana business, both medical and recreational combined, has seen a growth rate of around 17 to 18 percent and the business seems to be

a sustainable part of the mix, according to Engeland. As far as taxes collected from the business, even though Engeland didn’t connect the two, lodging tax is up around 15 percent. “People are coming into town, some for pot. They are eating, stay in a motel, get gas, and leave. There may be a possible connection even though we can’t say what it is for now.” According to Engeland, the majority of people driving to Trinidad are coming from New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Trinidad has a four percent sales tax over all. Marijuana has an additional five percent local sales tax and the state layers in another 15 percent with 10 percent of that coming back to the local taxing municipality. That means for every dollar spent on marijuana about ten and a half cents finds its way back into the city’s coffers.