When workers at his Colorado business went to pot, Mark Brawner said it was enough for him to roll out of the Rockies and head for South Carolina.
Brawner, who ran Little Spider Creations out of an old Denver warehouse for years until this month, told KUSA-TV Thursday he moved because pot was hurting his company. He said employees started to come to work stoned after the state legalized the drug for recreational use in 2012.
“The main reason we pulled out was because of marijuana,” Brawner said. “Marijuana got into our industry. Half the sculptors will come in high. As soon as we’d catch it, they’d be let go. We went through 25 sculptors. Only five of (our sculptors) either were quality or would show up unimpaired.”
“The main reason we pulled out was because of marijuana.”
– Mark Brawner
But Brawner told FoxNews.com Friday his comments got “twisted out of proportion,” although he did not deny relocating to the Myrtle Beach area, where smoking pot is still illegal.
“They had an agenda. They got what they wanted and not what they heard,” he said.
A call to KUSA news director Christy Moreno was not immediately returned.
Little Spider has built Halloween-like props for Six Flags amusement parks, the Dollywood Theme Park in Tennessee, and other haunted house entertainment venues.
The company’s a new home is a spacious facility in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The local Chamber of Commerce lured Brawner to move with a $25,000 grant. In exchange Brawner pledged to create 35 jobs and to make a $2.65 million investment in his business. In Colorado, Little Spider employed 47 sculptors, artists and animators.
The Myrtle Beach Sun News reported that back in Colorado, Brawner had been dealing with a “nasty” local government regulator and too many stoned workers. Those problems made his wife’s entreaties to move more appealing.
Now Brawner would like to take back remarks he made to KUSA like this one:
“A painter doesn’t do production as quick as we want. If you build a house you can build a house to the plans. When we’re asking you to sculpt a giant dinosaur, and it has to have personality and stuff, when you’re high you can’t see it. Your whole body says its good enough, when it’s not. The quality suffers.”
A Colorado business group told the station Little Spider’s departure is the first they heard of a company leaving the state because of legalized marijuana.
Speaking to FoxNews.com, Brawner just wanted his marijuana remarks to go puff.
He declined to say how his comments, which were audio-taped, could have been misconstrued.
“I don’t have anything more to say, not even to make things right,” he said.
Colorado legalized pot in 2013, and the first marijuana shops opened at the beginning of 2014. Washington and Alaska subsequently legalized the drug, and similar measures have been proposed in other states.