WALSENBURG– This past Tuesday was the expiration of the moratorium Huerfano County had imposed on any new marijuana grow businesses in unincorporated county lands, and the county chamber was full of people and TV cameras to hear what the commissioners did next. Commissioner Max Vezzani, who had proposed extending the moratorium an additional 18 months, made a formal motion for this to be so, followed by a brief silence. Commissioner Chairman Ray Garcia said he thought the current, tightened up, and tougher regulations set in place by county planning and zoning, and adopted last month, would do a fine job of screening out the potentially less organized grow businesses from starting until they were completely ready. Commissioner Gerald Cisneros agreed with Garcia, and the motion died for lack of a second. Everyone in the room who came to complain or rail against the moratorium, were suddenly deflated. Travis Nelson, a Huerfano native who has the Colorado Cannabis Corporation, located at 420 Main St in the old Masonic building, told the commissioners he was proud of them for not putting
another moratorium in place, as he thinks it would kill the marijuana industry in the county. “I consider Huerfano County the marijuana promised land,” he said. “Legalization of marijuana passed by 60 percent of the vote here in Huerfano, and we need to respect the will of the people,” he added. Brian Trani, of Martra Holdings, a construction company working with the marijuana industry, and currently in the process of getting a large grow business within Walsenburg’s city limits (pending annexation) sat down and talked with the commissioners about questions he had regarding the marijuana versus the hemp industries in the county. “As you know, these two plants don’t get along,” he said, noting the male hemp plant throws its spores to the wind, and if carried to the carefully modified marijuana plant, would totally blow the anticipated THC content of the next generation of pot plant. He suggested the county consider setting up 10 to 15 mile buffer zones between the two growing interests. The commissioners were uncomfortable at the thought of telling Huerfano farmers what they legally could or could not grow on their own land. Trani hoped the matter would be addressed before it became a problem. In other business, the commissioners noted the closing of County Road 580, which heads up to Lily Lake, due to a land slide. The road will be closed until further notice. Finally, the commissioners moved to appoint Don Mercier, the current manager of the county dispatch, as the new Office of Emergency Management director, replacing Diego Bobian, who tendered his resignation last week. Mercier would hold down the two jobs with dispatch and OEM, and get an unstated bump in his salary. He has yet to accept the position. The commissioners told County Administrator John Galusha to draft a letter to Bobian, thanking him for his years of service and what he did for the department.