LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Saguache County will pay heavy price for pot cultivation


Dear Editor,
RE: the proposed marijuana moratorium: bud is $800 to $1,000 and still dropping. Bud is going to cost new growers over $800 per pound just to produce!
I predict the majority of them will go out of business within the next year or so. These growers are buying up all the ag land (big farms with 100s of acres with existing ag wells) in order to grow pot on less than an acre of that land.  But they are forfeiting their substantial ag wells in exchange for piddly, small commercial wells and giving up the majority of their water rights in the process. 
When these grows fail, the land will be worthless and can never be farmed again. We are losing our potato and alfalfa farmers and all the families that depend on these crops for their livelihood and sustenance.  Somebody has to care whether or not this county and the Valley turns into one, big, barren, lifeless field devoid of people and livestock. Colorado Division of Water Resources doesn’t seem to care about the people trying to make a living here.
 Solution: Land Use MUST stop issuing commercial-sized greenhouse permits on properties that have no other structures or plumbing/sanitation or existing houses. This is just an invitation to illegal growers and increases the burden on law enforcement.
Saguache County — stop looking at marijuana as the way of increasing the money coffers. Focus instead on getting all of the developed properties in the county taxed as developed and not vacant land — that’s where your reliable long-term cash flow is.
You are never going to realize the amount of revenue from your added marijuana excise tax that you originally anticipated — and you are just increasing the burden on your legal growers by making it impossible for them to compete effectively and stay in business.
Diane Dunlap,
Crestone

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