The Pueblo West View

Pueblo West pot grower going dry

Marisol owner Mike Stetler, center, confers with empoyes in the opening minutes of Colorado recreational marijuana sales in Pueblo West, Colo. on  Jan. 1, 2014. (Chris McLean, The Pueblo Chieftain)
Marisol owner Mike Stetler, center, confers with empoyes in the opening minutes of Colorado recreational marijuana sales in Pueblo West, Colo. on Jan. 1, 2014. (Chris McLean, The Pueblo Chieftain)

A Pueblo West medical and recreational marijuana grower told Pueblo County commissioners Monday that business may be drying up.

Mike Stetler, owner of Marisol Therapeutics, said he has about a week left of water before he’ll have to shut down and claimed the problem could be widespread for Pueblo growers.

“I don’t know what to do,” Stetler said. “I’ve got a million dollars in plants and a week’s supply of water.”

Stetler said he contracts with a private water company and was told recently that the company will no longer sell water to marijuana growers.

Stetler said it’s similar to a stance taken recently by the St. Charles Mesa Water District, and added he’s concerned that as local water supplies dwindle, local marijuana operations may get pushed out of the market.

Stetler went in front of the commissioners during the board’s public comment portion of its meeting.

Chairman Terry Hart said he wasn’t certain what authority, if any, the board has in private water negotiations. But he also suggested that Stetler look for new sources of water and shop for an attorney to determine what his options are.

To that end, the commissioners will be seeking their own legal advice.

Today they asked their water attorney, Ray Petros, to look into what jurisdiction the county, as a licensing body, has in water conflicts.

“We need to have a feel for what the law says and doesn’t say,” Hart said. “But that’s for our purposes from a licensing perspective. Anyone who feels like they’re being wronged because of these decisions needs to seek their own counsel.”

Stetler said his water supplier’s notice came suddenly.

He said the water company told him they were stopping sales to marijuana businesses because it was in conflict with federal law.

He had been in business for years as a medical marijuana grower and supplier before becoming one of the first recreational retailers in the state in January.

jtucker@chieftain.com

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