I read both of Tom Wills' letters to the editor in disbelief and disdain. But when I read where he called Hotchkiss "his little town," I knew I also had to write a letter.
Hotchkiss is NOT anyone's little town. Hotchkiss and Paonia are the towns of the people who were born and raised here. People whose parents were farmers, fruit growers, teachers and coal miners. People who wanted to follow in their parents' footsteps. People who were and are proud of our clean air and predominantly drug-free environment. We felt our children were safe. We were proud to have more churches per capita than any town or city in the United States, NOT to be the marijuana capital. We also knew how much Delta County depended on the revenue from the coal mines. And the tens of millions of dollars coal generates for the state of Colorado.
We still know how important coal as an energy fuel is. We know that the coal industry HAS complied with all that was requested from the government's Clean Air Act.
We also know that the main function of marijuana is to "get high." We know the dangers of children and teenagers getting the drug. Yes, it does help pain if you are seriously ill, but there are other "legal" meds to do that. When my husband, Laurence, was dying from cancer, he was told he could ask for marijuana from a doctor for the pain. His answer was, "I cannot smoke marijuana in front of my sons, yet tell them not to smoke it." Hotchkiss was HIS town.
The people who truly can call Hotchkiss their town do not want commercial cannabis businesses here, attracting people who want a drug that is illegal in nearly every other state. Do we want to be ridiculed by late night hosts on TV and the people in other states, or do we still want to be proud of our heritage even though the government is "edging" out our livelihood.
We are country people and proud to be, but we are also educated, smart and have a lot of common sense. We know right from wrong. We have strong morals and we raise our children to have the same qualities.
This "little town" is OUR town. Don't try to change it. Those who don't like it can leave and take their propaganda with them.