Stoner, Colorado "mayor" Frank McDonald on post-Amendment 64 dream for two-person town

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Stoner, located in what McDonald describes as "a little valley in the middle of nowhere near Rico on your way to Telluride," consists of nine buildings, not counting Mary Jane's place ("She lives in a little hunter's shack up on Stoner Creek").

According to McDonald, the structures include an eatery, a general store, several cabins (well, three of them are trailers) that need to be remodeled or refurbished and 35 RV spots. But what the average observer may consider a ramshackle assemblage McDonald sees as a destination music venue: Mary Jane's at Stoner Grill, Bar and Events Center.

"The property is roughly six acres, and once a big stage is up, we could do events for about 4,000 people," he says. "Parking would be about a mile away, so we'd have to run a shuttle service, but we'd want to maximize capacity. And we could bring in all kinds of acts, like Shinedown -- I know some of the guys -- or L.A. Guns or, on the country side, Hank III. We'd get them at the beginning or end of tours -- get them for less money, because we'd be working with local not-for-profits. And who wouldn't want to play in Stoner, Colorado?"

McDonald isn't a Colorado native. Up until about two years ago, he lived in Liberty, Missouri, where he says he served as the CEO of a new product development company and took part in affiliated business ventures with his wife -- now his ex-wife.

Their personal and professional breakup was accompanied by a diagnosis of cancer, which he treated with cannabis oil; he's a medical marijuana patient and a passionate advocate of the plant's healing qualities who hopes Stoner can become a gathering place for those who feel likewise. Nonetheless, his kidney had to be removed -- but he never lost hope that he'd survive. Indeed, he says, "I was in the hospital when I agreed to purchase Stoner."

Four weeks after his organ's removal, McDonald had relocated to the town, which once served as a watering stop for trains transporting miners, he says. But his plans for getting the place up and running were delayed by another disaster.

Continue to read more about Frank McDonald, the "mayor" of Stoner, Colorado.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts