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Plea for more pot in Huerfano County

WALSENBURG– On Tuesday, the Huerfano County commissioners listened to J.R. Burrell, a principal partner of Wahatoya Farms, urge them to consider “completing the economic cycle” and allow testing, manufacture and retail sales of marijuana in the unincorporated area of the county. Burrell reported his company expects to harvest 50 pounds of marijuana soon, worth approximately $100,000 in retail sales, which will generate about $5,000 in tax money for the county. He would like to add another greenhouse to his business in the near future. As his company is coming up on the one-year anniversary of his Conditional Use Permit, he is also requesting his $10,000 deposit to be returned. Burrell feels the county is missing an economic opportunity by not allowing retail sales to the burgeoning pot tourist trade going up and down I-25. He used the analogy of the commissioners allowing a brewery to open up in the county, but not allowing the sale of

any beer here. The commissioners thanked Burrell for his suggestion, and said they would pass it along to the planning and zoning commission, as well as his request for his deposit return. In other business, County Administrator John Galusha was pleased to report that the grant writing effort for a FEMA Homeland Security project had gone well. Huerfano County had requested $300,000 to help create a defensible fire space around the village of Cuchara, and received a grant for $380,000. That doesn’t happen very often. Another $300,000 will be supplied by the Department of Natural Resources, so there will be zero cost to the county. The commissioners are still trying to come up with some sort of plan to deal with the massive landslide that has blocked County Road 580 last month. The property owner, on whose land the landslide originated, has been contacted. He has made no comment other than through his lawyers. The U.S. Forest Service, whose land abuts the private property, has said, yes, we sure do need to find a solution, but there has been no follow up on their part since.