Printed letters, January 3, 2014
As the Jan. 1 milestone (no pun intended) is upon the state of Colorado, and people throughout many parts of the state will be able to stroll into a retail marijuana pot shop and support local business, that will not be the case here in Grand Junction.
Apparently, the City Council prefers all the thousands of Grand Junction residents who use marijuana to make their purchases of Mexican cartel brick weed from some shady individual in some back alley, or buy it from the guy who gets it from this other guy who grows weed illegally in the national forest. The paranoid, not-in-my-backyard ethos that seems to run rampant in the City Council needs to be fought with common sense and, more importantly, tax revenue and increased job growth.
Various jobs sectors, including construction and advertising, would have seen temporary or permanent growth in Grand Junction had the city councilors not continued to set their watches back 50 years.
If there were just five shops in Grand Junction, they would all have needed to undergone intensive infrastructural upgrades to meet inspection standards and be able to grow, process and sell legal marijuana.
As for myself, I don’t partake, but I did just move here from Denver and witnessed four years of explosive growth in the industry. The Denver Post is full of articles covering this period of time that cite the growth in marijuana industry as having saved several metro warehouse districts, as well as giving a much-needed boost to the construction industry.
Not to mention some much-needed sales tax and permit fees that could be used for alcohol and drug enforcement, education, schools, etc. Tax coffers are coming up lighter as more shoppers find bargains online, and marijuana is one thing Amazon will not sell.
Oh well, what matters most is that the City Council continue to hold onto the notion that Grand Junction is sober, small-town America circa 1955 and we can all go down to the sock hop and get a milkshake.
States can more profitably manage some public lands
A study done by Nevada Public Lands Management Task Force concluded that public lands under state control have an average net profit of $6.29 per acre while federally controlled land averages a net loss of $1.86 per acre.
People who agree with land transfer from the feds to the states have had enough of overgrown forests, ripe for fire or damage by pine beetle infestations. They see federal lands that are off-limits to oil and gas exploration, since only 2 percent of federal offshore areas and not even 6 percent of federal onshore lands are leased for oil and natural gas production.
In other words, the federal government is not doing a good job of managing our lands, as a recent letter to the editor suggested, but rather it is costing all of us money and jobs.
Some Eastern states, such as South Carolina, agree. They are tired of spending billions under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act to pay Western states to not use their lands.
Under sequestration, the federal government even wanted to revoke part of this obligation that helps fund our schools and local communities.
Furthermore, the waste that agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service incur is anything but efficient and worthy of our support. As an example, between 2006 and 2008, the Forest Service lost an average of $3.58 billion annually.
Several states considering the transfer of lands, such as Utah under HB 148, aren’t considering the transfer of monuments, parks, wilderness or Department of Defense areas, only select lands, which will remain open to the public via the state. They won’t necessarily be sold to “rich Texans,” unless the state sees the sale as a benefit to them as a local-control issue.
Under state control, land use would be more streamlined, without the costly, odious burden of the National Environmental Policy Act but with the added benefit of counties having more say in how state land is used.
I think Coloradans understand their state’s needs, their forests, their deserts and their public lands much better than a congressman representing people in northeastern seaboard urban areas.
Feds controlled public lands before most states existed
Here’s a history lesson for the gentleman who complained about the “30-40-50 percent of their (sic) state lands that we are forced to give them (the feds).”
Anyone who paid attention in American history classes should know that the federal government acquired land in what is now Colorado, east of the Continental Divide, through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and the federal government took land west of the Continental Divide from Mexico in the Mexican-American War (1846-48).
Much later in 1876, through an act of Congress that was signed by the president, Colorado was carved out of that land. Colorado did not “give” the government anything. The federal government created Colorado out of land it owned and kept the rest for itself.
If the writer’s education were the norm in Colorado, I can only imagine how “sensibly” land would be managed by the state.
If the Sentinel’s real intent was to show how poorly educated some people in western Colorado really are, it hit the nail squarely on the head. Give yourself an “A.”