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A marijuana co-op would benefit Crawford

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Dear Editor:

We know that in the Garden of Eden, God gave us all of the seed-bearing plants on earth to use... "And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:12. We also know that the Food and Drug Administration approved the medical use of THC in 1992, 25 years ago. Yet the Delta County stance is "WE DON'T WANT IT HERE!"

The fact is that marijuana is here in abundance. Every adult in the state is allowed to grow 12 plants. With an average outdoor yield of one and a half pounds per plant, it is not a stretch to predict that the average adult can legally grow 18 pounds of marijuana per year. That is a lot of pot ... pot that is not regulated, taxed or tracked over time to keep that pot away from the community's children. Our sheriff's hands are tied on this one ... the law limits plant count to 12 plants per property. Yet once those plants are harvested, legal oversight disappears, and all 18 pounds are available to enter the black market. So if law enforcements' hands are tied and repeating "We don't want it here!" doesn't do anything to impact the black market, do we as citizens have options? I think yes, but not by licensing a standard marijuana store.

Unfortunately, licensing a marijuana store here will do nothing to impact the local marijuana black market. In a licensed store, an eighth of an ounce of marijuana costs about $75. That same amount on the black market costs $25, a third of the legal price. A store in Crawford would clearly gather tourist dollars, but really not impact the local black market because legal pot is so much more expensive than black market pot. And licensed stores must be stocked by licensed grow facilities, which have been banned here. This means that tens of thousands of dollars each month will be sent out of county to stock Delta County shelves. This flow of money benefits no resident of Crawford; it simply pads the pockets of an out-of-county millionaire grow site owner. A store here would indeed provide thousands of dollars each month to our town council to spend.

The only real solution I see is a marijuana co-op, a kind of pot farmers market. If we want to impact the black market, we must provide legal pot at lower prices. It is a financial reality; no Delta County resident drives out of county to pay $75 legally, when they get the same amount on the black market from their neighbor for $25. A co-op would sell local marijuana which benefits the Town of Crawford in two ways: 1) local growers are paid legally for their product, instead of that money going out of county to a millionaire grow site owner, and 2) every pound of pot purchased legally in the co-op is a pound of pot removed from the black market and away from the hands of the community's children. A co-op would allow regulation of product, keeping users safe from mold, toxins and other contaminants that permeate the black market. Every sale would provide tax dollars for our town council to spend. Finally any sort of marijuana business license brings armed state marijuana enforcement division officers to our town at no charge to any Crawford resident. These officers would not enforce any town ordinance, but they would enforce every state marijuana ordinance free of charge to the town. Free visible state law enforcement. Here. It is time to engage in an intelligent discussion on this topic. We know that you don't want it here, but since it is here, let us engage in an informed discussion on this new reality.

Jay Ziegler
Crawford

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