Brush residents have mixed emotions on proposed pot factory at former jail

Former jail owner holds open house for residents

BRUSH, Colo. - A Colorado businessman is doing everything he can to educate and persuade residents in the small town of Brush to allow retail marijuana to be grown and sold in their community. 

Colorado native and Fort Morgan resident Nicholas Erker wants to turn a former women's correctional facility into a retail pot factory, but in order to make it happen he needs the support of local residents and city leaders to lift Brush's current moratorium on marijuana business until 2016.

"Having a facility like this with cultivation and sales in a former prison is about the safest you could be," explained Erker.

The prison closed in 2010 and Erker bought it in March for $150,000.

Erker decided to hold an open house at the former jail on Sunday after hearing from residents at a public forum two weeks ago. The open house allowed residents to tour the facility, ask questions and learn more about the marijuana business. 

"The goal here today is just too really educate people first on the plan and also the regulation that's involved," said Erker.

Brush residents 7NEWS Reporter Jennifer Kovaleski talked to had mixed emotions about the idea of retail marijuana in their town.

"I think it stinks, I don't believe it," said resident Charles Bunnell.

"I'm not sure it's a good idea, but I am also realistic to know that it's happening and I'd rather it be contained like that building is than say just somebody out in the country," said resident Kathie Green.

"I think it would be a great idea, bring more revenue, maybe we can get our roads fixed, more jobs will open up," said resident Pat Stover.

Erker provided maps that outlined his plans for the former jail and put up posters throughout the facility with information and statistics about marijuana. In addition, attendants were shown a video and given a chance to ask questions during a Q&A period.

"Thirty one jobs, half a million dollars in taxes just to start with, not to mention there's a lot more opportunities for us at this facility," further explained Erker.

Brush City Councilwoman Jeanine Anderson said the council will consider all of the economic impacts of the project, but said she's still not sold on the idea.  

"I don't think a large pot growing facility is a wise use of our water resources," explained Anderson.

City Council will hold their second public meeting on Monday at 6 p.m. to give residents another chance to voice their opinions on lifting the retail marijuana ban and Erker's plans down at the former jail.

Following Monday's meeting, City Council may then have to decide whether to lift the ban, keep it in place, or put it a vote in November. 

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