After Mines, Jail Closed, Town Turns to Cannabis to Boost Economy

Developers are poised to break ground on a project that could make a tiny southern Colorado town one of the nation’s largest producers of legal marijuana.

The town of Walsenburg this month formally closed a $1.33 million deal with a developer to build a 332-acre campus for cannabis growing, processing and distribution, with the marijuana to be trucked 160 miles north to consumers in metro Denver. Walsenburg is a former coal mining town that never recovered when the mines closed by the 1960s, and its population has dropped to fewer than 3,000 residents. In Huerfano County, which is home to Walsenburg, 20% of the population lives below poverty level.

The Martra Development project envisions hundreds of greenhouses built in neat rows, much like a suburban neighborhood with streets. When fully developed, about 500 people would work on the site. The town is creating a simplified licensing system, and Martra hopes to have farmers growing crops by the spring.

– Read the entire article at USA Today.