Colorado is ten years into legalizing recreational marijuana, and sales are booming across the state. In some cities, like Denver and Colorado Springs, dispensaries are as prevalent as fast food restaurants. However, other cities have experienced cannabis industry woes, rather than success.

Ordway, Colorado, for example, could be considered the state's first cannabis ghost town.

Under Amendment 64, Ordway began allowing commercial cannabis in 2016. At its peak, the small southeastern town had 56 active growing facilities. While it's a tiny city, more than 1,000 residents once called Ordway home. Just a few years ago, pot-growing facilities were flourishing at the time, sending their products to dispensaries across the country. The destination was a "cannabis boomtown."

Unfortunately, Colorado saw a major decline in dispensary sales since pandemic restrictions ended. This resulted in the downfall of many businesses in the cannabis industry. Along with the rest of the state, it took a huge toll on the town of Ordway.

In 2023, marijuana licensing officials documented only twenty operating cultivations left in Ordway.

A majority of the buildings now sit vacant and abandoned, just like most of the town's homes. Residents left following the "green rush," boarding up their former abodes. Many of the addresses don't even appear on Google Maps anymore.

Google Maps
Google Maps
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Hotel Ordway was built at the turn of the twentieth century and has remained standing for more than 125 years. If the walls of this historic establishment could talk, they'd surely have a lot to say. However, nowadays, there aren't many tourists coming to this small-town hotel.

Google Maps/Canva
Google Maps/Canva
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When driving around town, tons of the fields of former cultivation operations have become overgrown or just sit dried and dead.

Hopefully, life can flourish again someday in this tiny, Colorado town. But for now, it's a cannabis ghost town.

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Gallery Credit: Nate Wilde

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