BRUSH, CO (KCNC/CBS) – The town of Brush lost dozens of jobs when its prison closed nearly four years ago, but one man wants to create new jobs by turning the prison into a marijuana grow facility.
Nick Erker said the idea started as a joke after 100 people were laid off when the former women’s correctional facility shut its doors.
“I kind of laughed it off, and when we figured out our warehouse idea wasn’t going to work for us I said that might not be such a bad idea,” Erker said.
After months of failed ideas, he started consulting with other industry experts and developers who said the facility might just be the perfect place to get into the booming business.
The facility has eight-inch concrete walls surrounding more than 60,000 square feet of space. It is sitting on seven acres of land inside a 30-foot chain link fence with razor wire.
Erker, who grew up less than 10 minutes away, said he thought Brush might just be the perfect place to do it.
“The thing that really got me going was I saw the opportunity for jobs – 31 new jobs, direct jobs,” Erker said.
The only problem is Mayor Chuck Schonberger said the city has a temporary ban on all marijuana businesses.
Now city leaders are reevaluating the situation. City Council can either remove the ban or leave it in place, or the mayor said they can put it to a vote in November.
Either way, they want to hear from those like Butch Anderson, who live and work in their community.
“Our local businesses really, really did take a hit,” Anderson said. “And this is a chance for us to rebuild.”
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