workers in a grow facility

How the Cannabis Industry Brought Life Back to a Small Arizona Town

We recently saw a news story about Copperstate Farms, a cannabis growing company, taking over an abandoned greenhouse in Snowflake, Arizona. Snowflake was not doing well when Copperstate showed up.  Their two biggest employers - a paper mill and a vegetable greenhouse - had closed up shop in 2012 and 2015. 

This put their economy on the ropes, and Copperstate tossed them a lifeline. Though the town was heavily religious, Copperstate engaged in public outreach, convincing citizens of their sincerity and their desire to bring business to the area.

The citizens of Snowflake took a chance, and in 2016, allowed Copperstone to  move into the abandoned vegetable greenhouse and set up shop.

That gamble paid off. By any metric you can name, Snowflake is booming. Their population is growing, buildings are going up, and their tax revenue increased by 287% between 2016 and 2023.

This is an important lesson in how small towns and the cannabis industry can help each other.

Small Towns and Cannabis Farms Can Help Each Other

The cannabis industry sometimes fights the ongoing perception that it’s a shady business. Like any industry, there will always be a handful of bad actors that take shortcuts or operate. However, it’s also important to highlight stories like this. Stories where the cannabis industry makes a positive difference.

Snowflake had a few advantages in attracting Copperstate. There was an existing greenhouse that was easily retrofitted for growing cannabis instead of vegetables. The high desert climate and abundance of natural light is beneficial for growing cannabis plants. But one of the biggest advantages was the local agricultural community. As Copperstate COO Tim Nolan noted: “It’s remarkable how many great growers and talented people that we’ve pulled out of a relatively rural community.”

America’s small towns are struggling as jobs are vanishing for big cities or overseas. This is especially true of rural, agricultural towns with deep local knowledge about cultivation and growing. A new industry like cannabis is perfectly suited to move into some of those small towns and give them a fighting chance, by taking advantage of what makes those small towns special.

Lab technician inspecting product

How You Can Help

This article filled us with pride. The future of our industry is bright as long as we continue to give back to the communities that support us.

Want to do your part? Consider expanding your operations to a small town - they may have resources you hadn’t considered! And read our article about reclassification to learn how your compliance can help lead to full legalization.
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