City leaders in the small community of Moffat,
Mike Biggio, the man behind the proposed change to the town’s name, is the co-founder of Area 420, a section of Moffat that is the home to about 70 cannabis cultivation operations. He says that the name change would be a nod to the town’s cannabis industry, which is the prime force behind Moffat’s economic growth. Highlighting the cannabis businesses in town, he believes, could help spur tourism to the area.
“I’m looking to establish this as a world-renowned cannabis region,”
Biggio says that the idea is a reference to the mountainous Hindu Kush cannabis region of south-central Asia, noting that Kush cannabis varietals are particularly well suited to grow in the area of southern Colorado near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve where Moffat is located. He said the change could establish the town as a prime cannabis cultivation area, similar to California’s famed agricultural regions for wine and marijuana.
“I’m trying to create something like what happened with Napa Valley or even Humboldt, for our industry,”
Some Colorado Town Leaders Support Name Change
Last week’s meeting was a chance for the Board of Trustees to take input from the community and so far, no decision on the proposal has been made. But some city leaders including Mayor Cassandra Foxx are giving serious consideration to the plan.
“Change is always good,” Foxx said. ‘The most dangerous phrase is: ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ That’s the death of society.”
Foxx says that the legal marijuana industry has been a boon for Moffat, which took in about $400,000 in cannabis excise taxes last year. Area 420 is also the community’s biggest employer.
“This town was able to just exist,” Foxx said of life before the growers began operating in Moffat. “They were just there. The status quo was kept. Then Area 420 came and brought us industry. It’s been exponential growth.”
Some town leaders oppose the idea to change Moffat’s name to Kush, however. Trustee Ken Skoglund agrees that cannabis has been beneficial for the town, but he notes that changing the town’s name would require the residents and business owners to spend money changing their addresses, business licenses and other documents.
“It’s a good industry for Moffat, but that doesn’t mean it should come in and change the name of the town and disrupt a whole bunch of other people that don’t even care for marijuana,” Skoglund said.
“Why do we want to change that part of history, you know, just to make one other business so popular?” Skoglund asked before offering an alternative. “It can be ‘Moffat: The Kush capital of Colorado.’ Everybody’s okay with that. But when they try to come in and change a name where it affects everybody… and then to name it something like that? Absolutely not.”
Skoglund added that he is fine with marketing the town and its cannabis industry to draw visitors. But he draws the line at changing the town’s name to Kush.
“That’s overreach,” Skoglund said. “It’s not about money. It’s about right and wrong and we represent the people.”
Biggio believes that concerns about the impact the change would have on residents are exaggerated. City leaders are trying to decide how the change would be made if it is approved, suggesting the move might require a petition or a ballot measure.
“Let’s put this up to whatever fair democratic measure and let the public speak,” Biggio said.