GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
Depending on who you talk to, it’s medicine, or it’s poison. Liz Weiss says, “I use it myself for anxiety and depression.” Antone Abbott was a registered nurse for 38 years, and says, “Having had personal experiences as a youth with that. The detrimental effects it had on my own personal life was devastating.”
But, no matter who you talk to, cannabis is legal in Colorado, and has been since Amendment 64 passed eight years ago, and since 2017 Palisade has opened dispensary doors to cannabis customers, and Grand Junction is looking to do the same. Jeremy Cleaveland does not want cannabis sales in Grand Junction. Jeremy says, “We want to take the things that make a moral, and healthy, and successful society, and we want to promote and encourage them, and I don’t think this will help.” Sidni Norwood says cannabis saved her life, and also says, “We need it in our town. We need safe, legal access to our medicine.”
And, the city needs cash because according to the last city hall workshop in August, Grand Junction is down 25% in tax revenue. The last city target to produce profits was a 40% increase on Nicotine and vaping taxes, but that topic was tabled. The new target is set on the cannabis cash crop that produced over $2.9 million in Mesa County just in the month of July, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Liz says, “Palisade has shown it works for them. I’ve seen it work in Washington, and Oregon where we used to be residences of. I just want to see it done right.” Liz isn’t alone. Robbie Koos was also at the city hall workshop discussing the possibility of cannabis regulation, and licensing in Grand Junction city limits. Robbie says, “I actually think the revenue source could be very beneficial if the city will earmark that revenue towards programs that are geared towards our youth.”
According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, since January 2014; there’s been $8.8 billion in cannabis sales with $1.4 billion in taxes going to the Centennial State.