click to enlarge Courtesy Rocky Farms Will these pot shops capture all the west-bound tourists? Marijuana sales aren’t new to Rocky Ford, one of the oldest towns along Highway 50 in southeast Colorado.
The town’s dispensary, Rocky Farms, opened in December 2016. As the sole cannabis provider in Otero County, it was and is closer to many customers in Oklahoma, Texas and southern Kansas than any of the establishments in central cities like Pueblo, Trinidad and Colorado Springs. Unfortunately for the owner of Rocky Farms, that hasn’t been a boon for business. Limited by law to selling medical product, Rocky Farms is off-limits to out-of-state visitors.
That will change now that Rocky Ford’s Ballot Question 2F has passed. The measure authorizes the licensing of retail marijuana establishments, but only for current medical licensees and those with medical license applications on file. That means only two people, both out of Colorado Springs, are eligible for the new license: The first is Rocky Farms owner Jack Sveinsson, and the second is Jack Pease, who was confident enough in passage to have remodeled a building for his dispensary in advance.
Highway 50 divides into one-way corridors through town. Rocky Farms sits on the westbound route, while Pease’s new establishment, to be called “The Station,” is on the eastbound path just before it leaves city limits. The campaign in favor of 2F, Rocky Forward, emphasized the potential for sales to visitors, using “Tax Tourists” as the slogan on its yard signs.
Inevitably, one of the concerns vocalized by opponents, both prior to the election and after, is that proximity to bordering states will lead to smuggling. But, even when retail marijuana becomes available in Rocky Ford, cities to the south like Amarillo, Texas, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will still be closer to recreational dispensaries in Trinidad.