Colorado's Crumbling Coal Mine Industry Urge Residents to Reconsider Marijuana Business

By Staff Writer

Mar 25, 2016 04:57 AM EDT

Colorado coal mining industry has been crumbling as coal mines shut down one by one and declare bankruptcy.  Residents seek for an alternative income and are resorting now to marijuana which was legalized in 2012 raising concerns for the local leaders about crime and the peacefulness of their town and voted twice to ban the cannabis.

Hotchkiss is one of Colorado's towns that support the locals with jobs, but since the North Fork Valley  has stopped its operation and another announces of shut down , folks are asking, what if they resort to planting marijuana like the other towns.

"If we could get it legalized right now, we could create some jobs, and we need the tax revenue," said Thomas Wills, a town trustee who runs a used-book store and supports allowing some marijuana stores. "Downtown's not going to be all flashing green crosses and dancing marijuana leaves. You can make it as unobtrusive as you want."

In Hotchkiss, the urge to enable marijuana has initiate talks about the town's soul. It was hidden into a sunny mountain valley covered with peach orchards and vineyards.  However, the coal mines up the valley were an economic reliance for generations, and people states that tourism and boutique agriculture cannot substitute good-paying mining jobs. Unemployment in Delta County is 5.3% which is considerably higher than the 3.2% of the statewide average, according to Tampa Bay Times.

On April, Hotchkiss will declare on whether to lift its ban on marijuana shops and welcome it along with the traffic and taxes that includes it.  With the ascending cannabis sales of $1 billion across Colorado and California's readiness to grasp legalization, conservative towns like Hotchkiss is studying the economics of marijuana and is beginning to rethink marijuana, reports the Bulletin.

Hotchkiss' mayor and coal-mine geologist, Wendell Koontz, said that the price is unworthy. He is concerned if the three-person marshal's office and small town staff could handle the inconvenience of new marijuana businesses and the good character of the place proclaiming itself as the 'Friendliest Town Around," based on The New York Times report.

However, others say that it is time for venturesome move since coal is not coming back. The local people needs job and the town needs cash injection, anything that will help even if it means resorting to planting and opening marijuana shops.

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