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CO farmer seeks to convert former medium-security prison into marijuana grow-house

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The Denver Post reports that a man in northeastern Colorado wants to convert a former medium-security prison into a marijuana grow-house.

“I was walking through the empty [prison] one day by myself and I thought, ‘This place would be perfect to grow marijuana,'” Nicholas Erker told the Post. “There’s plenty of water, lots of electricity, it’s built of precast, 8-inch concrete walls, ceilings and floors, it’s in an industrial park away from the population and it’s surrounded by 25- to 30-foot exterior fences with razor wire on top — and there’s also an interior fence. You’re not going to get more secure than this.”

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The facility is located in Brush, Colorado, and shut its doors in 2010, leaving 85 residents unemployed. “When you lose 85 jobs in any community, it hurts,” Erker said. “In a town the size of Brush, it really hurts.”

He took his belief that opening the grow-house and dispensary in could revitalize the town economically to Mayor Dan Scalise.

“We sat down with the mayor and his team and told them that we think we can create 31 jobs with an estimated payroll of $1 million with sales tax revenues that increase their current sales tax collections by 30 percent,” Erker said. “Their current sales tax is $1 million, and we’re estimating that we could generate around $300,000 in sales tax for the city of Brush through excise, sales and retail taxes.”

The only problem with Erker’s plan is that the city currently has a moratorium on all marijuana businesses. Either the city council needs to lift the moratorium or put it to a city-wide vote. Brush City Administrator Monty Torres said that he would open the floor to residents to comment publicly today, and “that will be the first time there will be community input — outside of the council members who have had their own discussions with citizens. But the council decided they’d like to hear from the community before they decide on lifting the moratorium or not.”

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If the council decides to lift the moratorium — or if voters choose to rescind it in November — the city would have a perfect partner in Erker, who is currently the vice president of the Erker Grain Company, whose “background is in agricultural processing and food sales.” As Erker noted, “we’re in a similar industry, currently. We know what it means to have food-safety measures in place. We want to carry that same mindset and philosophy into this industry and use it to set an example for what every other facility in the state could thrive to be.”

He told the Post that the art of cultivating different strains of marijuana is one his company has already mastered with a similarly finicky plant — the sunflower. “In the sunflower business, we’re constantly looking for better genetics, looking for seeds that are more characteristic of our customers’ liking,” he said.

“This year we have 150 varieties of sunflowers growing in different test plots in Colorado, Nebraska and Texas. Through those test plots we’re also testing for yields with farmers — we want to make sure they have a good opportunity, too. We think we’ll be able to carry that same skill into the marijuana production, cultivation and sale.”

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[Image via Flickr user Spot Us, Creative Commons licensed]


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Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing

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"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.

"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.

I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"

The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.

"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.

[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]

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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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