Colorado has a new cash crop: marijuana. Growing pot for medical use is one of the booming businesses in the state. One family has turned nearly 40 acres in southern Colorado into a money making venture.
Within the plastic walls of a small greenhouse, a business is booming for Jason Irwin, and his mother Diane.
“This is me and my mom's little marijuana farm,” Jason said, motioning to a small group of structures and vehicles.
The second of their two greenhouses sits next to a small motor-home where Diane oversees the operation.
“I sold my salon and moved down to the country,” Diane said.
The pair now grows their crops in La Veta, Colorado southwest of Walsenburg, nearly 200 miles from where Diane used to own a successful Aveda Salon.
"I gave Jason some money when I sold the salon. Just trusted him to do what he thought was best, to invest the money and help us get ahead financially,” she said. They talked again when he came up with a plan. “He said he was going to open a dispensary and I said ‘Go for it!’”
His idea was to buy 37 acres near the Greenhorn Mountains to supply his own, legal, dispensary with medical marijuana.
"The growers deal with a lot of the poundage which is where the dollars are," Jason said.
On pure faith, Diane began in the modest trailer in La Veta.
“She also started hanging the buds in here. She did half the harvest in here,” said Jason. “She lived in here by herself with no real heat or water in this camper.”
“It was an adventure that I never though about experiencing,” Diane said. “When we finished it was like an Outward Bound course for me.”
She went on to say the grow operation is an adventure she never thought she'd take after years of catching Jason with pot and throwing it away.
Her son now claims he grosses $5,000 a day as a certified medicine provider, paying city and state taxes since day one.
Now, mom says they're both in for the long haul.
"I really do feel that were pioneers bringing new life to medical marijuana and it's exciting," Diane said.
Colorado is one of 14 states that has legalized medical marijuana. Federal law still bans its use. The justice department has recently announced it would no longer seek to prosecute people using, prescribing or distributing marijuana for medical purposes as long as they're in compliance with local laws.
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