This Colorado Town May Be Changing Its Name to "Kush"
One cannabis executive wants to rebrand the 120-person town that has been financially reinvigorated by his businesses’ taxes.
Published on June 10, 2022

A cannabis executive in southern Colorado is pushing for Moffat, the 120-person town in which his facilities are located, to change its name to “Kush” to honor the weed that set the community’s finances back on track. Not everyone is a fan of the cannabis-loving proposal, however, including a town trustee.

"The name change?” commented said trustee, Ken Skoglund, to the Denver Post. “[Expletive] no!"

“That’s overreach,” he continued. “It’s not about money. It’s about right and wrong and we represent the people.”

But Skoglund might be in the minority on the issue.

“Change is always good,” said Cassandra Foxx, who supports the name change — and is also the town’s mayor. “The most dangerous phrase is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ That’s the death of society.”

There’s no denying that weed has gotten Moffat's small-town economy to boom. Five years ago, the promoter of the “Kush” campaign, Mike Biggio, opened a collection of 70 growing operations collectively called Area 420. The Denver Post reported that the enterprise raised Moffat’s tax revenue from “virtually none” to $400,000 last year. The town has used those funds to look into a new municipal water and sewer system, schools, paving, and housing development.

Even if cannabis monikers may be a 21st century innovation, naming towns for their primary capitalistic contribution has long taken place around the world. Just ask the residents of Coal City, Illinois or Oil City, Pennsylvania — or Gas, Kansas for that matter. Other countries have also christened their communities in honor of the product that pays the bills, like the town of Tabaco in the Philippines and Kant [“Sugar”] in Kyrgyzstan. (FYI, Wikipedia maintains a fine list of cities dubbed thusly if this is the kind of trivia you enjoy.)

The town was named after David Moffat, a railroad tycoon who helped develop Colorado's Middle Park Region in the late 1800s.

“The name [change] isn’t just to be cute,” said Biggio. The weed businessperson says that the town of Moffat is also confused with Moffat County in northwestern Colorado. And many think that upping the town’s buy-in to weed culture could only increase cannabis tourism to the community, which is located in a conservative part of Colorado that doesn’t really get down with the marijuana industry.

The word “kush” has a long and storied history in global weed culture. Though in modern times, it has been used to refer to an earthy and resinous strain of marijuana, “Kush” originally pertained to the Hindu Kush mountains. The range straddles the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is one of the endemic spots of our beloved cannabis sativa plant. Today, strains referred to as “kush” hypothetically harken back to these peaks, and the plant itself has the reputation of being hardy in colder growing conditions.

For Biggio, it sounds like the perfect way to refer to the community that has welcomed in his business and tax dollars.

“This would show the town has both feet in on this and reflect the new culture here,” he said. The town was set to begin reviewing the “Kush” re-naming plan on Tuesday. We’ll see whether this initiative ignites!

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud.

Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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