This story originally appeared on Benzinga
Benzinga recently reported that cannabis tourism was a $17 billion industry. Now, Moffat, population 120, is aiming to cash in this opportunity. To that end, the southern Colorado town in the San Luis Valley is seriously thinking of changing its name to “Kush” in a rebranding effort to ride the wave of cannabis tourism.
Mike Biggio, who co-founded Area 420, precisely a 420-acre Cannabis Business Park (zoned for licensed commercial grows) is behind the initiative. “I’m looking to establish this as a world-renowned cannabis region,” Biggio told the Denver Post.
What is Kush?
The proposed name “Kush” refers to a landrace strain of marijuana originating from the Amu Darya River Valley, located on the border between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. According to Weedmaps, this variety of weed grew in the wild for centuries and stabilized its genetic profile through continuous natural selection.
In the 1960s and 1970s, when Afghanistan was still part of the “Hippie Trail,” countless pot smokers and fellow travelers visited the country and enjoyed one of the most potent marijuana strains on record at the time. Many of them brought these landrace seeds back to their home countries where they formed the origin of the Kush strains we know today.
‘The Napa Valley For Bud’
According to Biggio, Moffat “could be the next Humboldt County. The Napa Valley for bud,” he said. “This would show the town has both feet in on this and reflect the new culture here.”
Biggio will meet the local Board of Trustees in mid-June to discuss his proposal. The meeting is informational, an “opening salvo” before any votes are taken.
Cassandra Foxx, Moffat’s mayor, says she’d vote for “Kush,” noting that “change is always good.”
Particularly in light of the fiscal benefits that Area 420 and the cannabis industry are bringing to town. As a cannabis hub or “cluster,” Area 420 has the potential to attract companies of all sizes that could work together, compete and cooperate, to promote cannabis innovation and stimulate the local economy.
Cannabis revenue put to good use
Mayor Foxx explained that in the past five years since Area 420 started, town revenues skyrocketed from $80,000 to ~$400,000 in excise taxes, most of it from the marijuana industry. The money has gone toward funding schools, roads and housing development.
“This town was able to just exist(…) Then Area 420 came and brought us industry. It’s been exponential growth,” Foxx said.
However, not everyone agrees. Trustee Ken Skoglund said calling the town Kush was an overreach. “It’s not about money. It’s about right and wrong and we represent the people,” he said.