Supervisors meet to discuss medical marijuana dispensaries

State law now requires that counties in Arizona set aside a range of properties zoned for medical marijuana dispensaries. Community Development Director Scott Bernhart addressed the Board of Supervisors yesterday at a work session on the subject, suggesting over a dozen properties which could be zoned in this way. A main concern of the Board, he said, should be to avoid legal trouble due to failing to nominate enough zoned land to make the dispensaries viable.

It was stated that the State would be issuing 124 dispensary permits statewide, each County guaranteed one. La Paz County would probably receive two at the most, befitting its population size. The dispensaries would most likely be situated in Parker and Quartzsite.

Supervisor John Drum expressed a concern that they follow the new law strictly.

Sheriff’s Lieutenant Alan Nelson asked whether the County might anticipate problems due to devalued property adjacent to grow operations. Deputy County Attorney Glenn Buckelew replied that there is ordinarily no legal recourse in these statute-approved cases.

Nelson also asked whether the grow operations of dispensaries can be located in areas remote to the dispensary. He asked whether it may thus be possible that La Paz County’s rural areas could be used to grow marijuana that will be used by dispensaries in Maricopa County.

Health Dept Marion Shontz said, “It would be very easy for La Paz County to become the supply area for the metropolitan areas.” Supervisor Drum remarked, “I would like to see a limit on that.” The new law does not appear to limit the distance of the grow operation from the dispensary, specifying only that it must register one separate physical address for cultivation. The agricultural valley is CRIT reservation, so it is governed by federal law and may not be valid cultivation land until federal law changes.

Drum asked, “Who’s going to be monitoring the doctors writing these scripts?”

“It’s going to be very regulated,” Shontz replied.

“Who’s going to be monitoring the people over 25 miles from a dispensary who can grow their own? Who is going to go out and check how many plants they have? … A lot of people are going to have some huge responsibilities to this County.”

Sheriff Don Lowery expressed some concern about his ability to ensure that his officers would not be able to work while having a prescription for medical marijuana. Buckelew replied, “Employers cannot discipline someone for having prescribed medical marijuana.” In such an instance the prescription is the same as any other prescribed medication.

Other sentiments included a desire to tax it: “I’m in favor of taxing it right away,” said Drum. Buckelew replied that the best approach would be to find out what was happening in the rest of the state.

Shontz remarked that a few farmers had contacted her about growing medical marijuana. A dispensary would need to contract a farmer to cultivate for them, though it is unclear yet whether enough demand would exist in La Paz County for a crop of any substantial size.

A police officer had a prepared statement “as a resident” to express strong opinions against the bill and appealed that the Board refuse the new State law and abide by the prohibition in Federal law instead. He cited the lack of support for the measure in La Paz County specifically.

The people of the state of Arizona as a whole voted to approve the measure in last year’s Proposition 203.

Further reading:
30 facts about Arizona’s medical marijuana law
The history of marijuana in America

49 comments

  1. Ugh… here we go again…. Why is “the voters mean this” so hard to understand? I am against legalized dope, but the voters are not. So now the County is going to define what IS and what IS not? You (LPC BOS) have bigger issues, and your past behaviors do not indicate positive future outcomes. Just sayin’…

  2. Come on Mr. McGuire… It is a work session. Give me a break. Come back and run Mr. McGuire. Fix it and save us all.

  3. Do I have your vote?

  4. ####################################

    Just an insult -J

  5. JOHN JOHN JOHN!

  6. Yes sir Mr. McGuire, you would have my vote. Supported you on the recall for Fisher and Eddy

  7. Why do you put up with him John–samo–samo all the time

  8. For the same reason we put up with you Gracie! And consistency is a hallmark of greatness! I know you aren’t used to this in these parts, but get used to it!

  9. Roth- Relax, please. You just have a style that rubs people the wrong way. A smart person would learn from it.

    Gracie- We try to allow as much free speech as possible. Please ignore as much as you can.

  10. Oh John, a smart person wouldn’t censor, or creatively delete comments, or be biased in their reporting, or say stuff like “we allow as much free speech as possible.” You, like gracie, only like what you are comfortable with. Were you a hall monitor in high school?

  11. Roth- You disagree with the way this site is run. I’ve tried to explain it to you. Perhaps this just isn’t the site for you.

  12. No! You’re wrong again. I like this site!!!

  13. Mr. Wright is correct, in my opinion.

    Mr. Roth, your right to free speech does not give you the freedom to interfere, or interrupt Wright’s freedom to his property – which includes this site.

    Nor does your free speech come without limits protecting others’ free speech rights, which is the right to NOT hear poisonous speech – refer to hate speech laws as an example. If you have a right to be heard, I have a right to not hear you, within a public forum. You cannot stand on the public square and say anything and everything that comes to your mind.

    Additionally, you are treading on cyber-bullying, harassment and infringing on others rights’ to their free speech. Free speech works both ways.

    A little civility and decency goes a long way towards honoring those freedoms many have died for. They did not fight for your right to quash others’ rights.

    This is Wright’s property. Should he choose to control his property in order to protect his investment and intellectual rights, I support his right to do so.

    If that includes a set of rules governing behavior in a private-public forum, well, that speaks volumes towards the character degradation in LPC.

    This county has been knocked around and battered before, mid 1970’s and 1982-1983 especially. She may be on her knees again, but your behavior, Mr. Roth, excludes you from discussions that may determine her future.

    “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous.” Paracelsus.

    It the dose that makes the poison Mr. Roth.

    Good bye, and good luck – Jerry

  14. WOW Jerry, I agree with you in some parts and you couldn’t be more wrong at the same time! That’s a pile of words that mean nothing. But all the best to you too anyway! Godspeed!!!

  15. Roth, you are toxic, all sane persons will not interact with you any further, Go find another forum to fill your ego and hate. I request, everyone, IGNORE all roth postings in future…….

  16. M, I am toxic to YOU. You say I am not kind, I am just not YOUR kind. And thank God for that! How is your plan to get rid of Dan Field going?

    Putting on your best red fingernail polish and going to see Billy today?

  17. Anyone who is against medical marijuana would be a hypocrite to keep allowing tobacco and alcohol products to remain legal. Legalize all three or make all three illegal. I know more than a dozen people who have died from tobacco usage in the last four years alone. I know five people who have died due to alcohol-related illnesses or accidents in the same time period. Yet, I know of no one who has died from marijuana usage at all.
    I also remember a store in La Paz County, Bouse, I think, that quit selling cigarettes five or six years ago because so many of its customers perished from their use and they didn’t want to be a part of it. I think they had to close because of that decision, but you have to admit it was a very noble thing to do.
    The decision to make marijuana illegal in the early 20th century was NOT made out of health concerns, but, for the same reason why tobacco and alcohol remains legal, money.

  18. DR- I know many people who agree with you.

  19. DR – “medical” marijuana and LEGAL marijuana should be two separate issues. The problem with “medical” marijuana is that the laws and not created and designed to help cancer patients. They are created and designed as way to trick people into legalizing it who wouldn’t otherwise support legalization. If it REALLY was medicine, then legalization as “medicine” and legalization for recreation have nothing to do with each other.

    Unfortunately, a lot of voters don’t do a lot of research, especially on propositions. They see “Medical” Marijuana laws, a few commercials showing off cancer patients, and they think “I’ll support that.” Meanwhile, most users of “medical” marijuana and healthy young adults who make claims of “chronic pain.” Only 4% to 5% of “Medical” Marijuana users have serious conditions like cancer, AIDS, etc… Potheads should be ashamed of themselves for using truly sick people as scapegoats so they can get high legally.

    Its funny how history repeats itself. Go to antique and collectors shops and you can still find bottles of “Medicinal Whiskey” used during prohibition. No one in the right minds would think Booze has medical value, but doctors prescribed it back then so people could get their banned booze.

    Should marijuana be outright legal? We do live in a democracy still, and if the majority of people wants it; it will be. But they don’t. Even California’s legal weed proposition failed.

    The biggest problem with Politics today is dishonesty. “Medical” Marijuana is a dishonest law designed to get voters to legalize weed who wouldn’t other wise vote to legalize it.

    I’m not going to argue whether or not is should be legal, that’s a matter of opinion. I will say that we should NEVER tolerate dishonest laws, even if the end game is something we support. The end does NOT justify the means. If you want weed to be legal, then be HONEST and convince people to vote to legalize it. Don’t trick them with cancer patients and unethical doctors.

  20. CS- There are compelling reasons to allow sick people to use marijuana. I know sick people who have benefitted greatly from using it. I mention this because you seem to imply that it’s false.

    Therre are also compelling reasons to legalize it in general, in my opinion. So, someone like me can be happy to have a move in the right direction, and don’t find it dishonest at all.

  21. If truly sick people were the only ones getting “medical” marijuana, no one would complain. If you went to your primary care provider, he wrote you a prescription, and you went down to your local CVS and filled it, I wouldn’t be complaining. But that’s just not how it works.

    In reality, you go to a doctor who advertises that they prescribe marijuana, complain of back pain, pay a couple hundred bucks, and you get a “referral card.” This allows you to buy an endless amount of the “medicine”, a few ounces at a time (depending on the state) for a year. You even get to pick your flavors and can get them from vending machines! No refills or new doctors visits needed.

    Because we all know you can buy real medication in the form on Candy, or Brownies, or Honey. Come on John, you really buy that? No other medicine gets that treatment, except maybe over the counter children’s cough syrup. I know I prefer my antibiotics in reeses peanut butter cups.

    And if that’s not enough, here’s the slam dunk that most people don’t know. The “medicinal” part of Marijuana is the THC. Its primary medical purpose is to treat nausea and appetite problems in cancer patients. And Guess what? IT BEEN AVAILABLE IN PILL FORM BY PRESCRIPTION FOR DECADES! Its called Merinol, or its generic Dronabinol.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000403

    Yes, it is dishonest to convince the American voters that we need a legalize “medicinal marijuana,” 95% of which will go to healthy 20 year olds, when the actual “medicine” in marijuana has been legal by prescription for decades.

    Now, are there compelling reasons to legalize it? Sure. Is it right to mislead voters who wouldn’t otherwise support it into legalizing it? No its not. In this country, if you want to pass a law, you are supposed to debate and try to change peoples minds. You want legal weed, a debate needs to be started and minds need to be changed. But tricking them is wrong.

    Archive this for me. We all know that Marijuana will eventually be legal, its only a matter of time. When that happens, you will see the “medical” marijuana fad disappear. Just like medical whiskey disappeared after prohibition. You wait and see.

  22. Just to add an example. Opium has a valid medical purpose as a pain killer. And opium is just as natural as marijuana (which is why I say opium, and not its chemically altered cousin Heroin) Do we have opium dispensaries with referral cards and opium candy?

    No, if you need the medicinal part of opium, you get prescribed vicodin or oxycotin. And those prescriptions are regulated and controlled by your doctor. Do people abuse those by doctor shopping? Yes. Is the system DESIGNED to be abused? No,. Are 95% of the recipients of those prescriptions healthy people who want to get high? Not even close.

    Merinol is to marijuana as Vicodin is to opium. Yet we treat it 100% differently? Why, because medical marijuana isn’t about getting people medicine. Its back door legalization designed to get young people the weed they want and make people money.

  23. Sure, if marijuana were legal, there’d be no need for a medicinal ‘variety’; there’s no difference. And people don’t need a doctors prescription to get marijuana! (The Arizona law in particular by the way seems much stricter than those in CA and CO, and may address the issue of prescriptions going to people who don’t need it medicinally.)

    The thought that some people who don’t need marijuana may use it anyway isn’t one that concerns me much, I have to admit..

  24. Yes the Arizona Law appears stricter and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out. AZ’s law still includes the vague “chronic pain” provision. But its still better than college kids in CA who claim anxiety and insomnia as reasons for their referrals. When I have a headache or and feeling a little anxious, a few beers makes me feel better. Doesn’t make it medicine.

    One thing about the AZ law that other states don’t have is the “No discrimination by employers” provision. In other states, Government Officials and Law Enforcement could be prohibited from using because of the Federal Law Violation. But with this provision, enforcing federal law violates state law. Sheriff Lowery brought up concerns about this at the last board meeting about the issue. I wonder how many people in the state are comfortable with pot smoking cops?

    While people who don’t “need” weed having it may not concern you; you should be concerned about the pandora’s box these laws have opened. It is now a legitimate political tactic to pass laws with a true purpose different from the advertised purpose. And it works. Maybe this is the fault of the American voters who are more concerned about American Idol than reading the ballot propositions they vote on. Its definitely not a good sign for politics in the years to come.

    I still say that if we want to legalize marijuana, then the voters should VOTE to do it. Not to vote on slide of hand laws like these. I do understand that I am pointing out problems with no solutions, because the box has already been opened. We’ll see a lot more of these things in years to come.

  25. Common Sense,
    You complain about the dishonesty of this issue, yet marijuana became illegal through dishonest means.
    Before the 1930’s, hemp was a very common material for fabricating. It had strong fibers and it was easy to grow. One study showed that 10,00 acres devoted to hemp would produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of wood pulp. The only drawback was that it was expensive to process, having to be separated from the stalk by hand. However, in 1937 a machine called the decorticator was invented and it allowed the process to become much cheaper. Hemp paper, as just one example, would become far cheaper than wood-pulp paper. People like William Randolph Hearst who owned a staggering amount of timber acreage had major investments in commodities that competed with hemp and had a lot to lose.
    Hearst started a smear campaign against hemp in the mid-thirties and inspired a government project, the Siler Commission, to study its effects on soldiers. They found no lasting effects and recommended no criminal penalties be applied to its use.
    Hearst used the newspapers he owned to overshadow the study and promote hysteria towards marijuana among the public. For instance, an article wherein a marijuana cigarette was involved in an auto accident ran for weeks, but accidents involving alcohol made only brief appearances in the back pages. This was yellow journalism at its finest.

  26. Oh here comes the hemp argument again. Let me clarify something. HEMP IS NOT ILLEGAL TO POSSES. Hemp can be imported as long as it has Zero THC.

    Hemp is not even the same plant as cannibus. Its in the same family and is classified as a cannabinoid, but hemp has either very low THC content, or none at all depending on the strain. The zero THC hemp is just fine as a material, and you can buy hemp products all over the country.

    You can buy hemp clothes, hemp rope, hemp sandals, you name it. Go ahead, put on a pair of hemp sandals, walk up to a cop, and say “Officer I’m wearing hemp sandals.” He’ll look at you funny and wonder why you think he cares.

    As for the “well they lied to us first” argument. Didn’t your mother teach you that two wrongs don’t make a right?

  27. CS- I think it would be a grave mistake to downplay the extent to which misconceptions and propaganda about marijuana/hemp inspired/were causal to each other.

  28. John, that’s an excellent statement for both sides. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which means it has no medicinal value. Rather than passing individual state laws, some of which are nothing more than a guise for potheads to get high, study it and determine if it has any medicinal value. IF it does, reclassify it and treat it like any other prescription. But a blanket legalization would have the same negative effects on society that alcohol has. The number of impaired drivers would rise and with it the number of impairment related deaths.

  29. RR- You’re advocating an inconsistent policy, then?

  30. You wish to keep alcohol legal and keep marijuana illegal, despite what you say are the “negative effects” of both.

  31. As I have said in the past with the underage drinking article, I would vote to make alcohol illegal.

  32. Well then the real conversation is about how free this nation should be and the proper role and place of its government.

  33. CS,
    Your knee-jerk reaction to my statement missed the point.
    You stated that the pro-legalization attempts have been dishonest. I am saying that it was made illegal through dishonest means and scare tactics.
    People can classify it as a Schedule I drug or make whatever claims they want about it, but they shouldn’t be hyporcrites when it comes to alcohol and tobacco. If people are fine with one or both of these, then there is no logical reason for them to be adverse to marijuana.
    BTW John, would it be possible to someday make a forum here that allows La Paz residents to communicate without having to attach it to a particular news story? Let us make topics for the stories in one standard forum? This story is getting buried, but the comments keep coming, so a separate forum for it would be great in cases like this.
    Love your work whether you can do this or not. Please, keep it up!!!

  34. So how does a liberterian define government and and the purpose of laws?

    DR – I understand and agree with your comparison of marijuana to alcohol, but not the comparison to tobacco. Tobacco does not impair.

    One has to wonder why marijuana has not been legalized if all the claims about it are true. We have had both Republican and Democrats oversee the office that has the power to change its classification, but they have not. Why? A part of the reclassification of a drug is the potential for abuse. Liberal “Medical Marijuana” laws like Californias do not further legalization of marijuana, but document the abuse. But John’s argument, I believe, is not if marijuana has medicinal value, but if the government has a right to tell an individual what they can or cannot do with their body.

    http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/21C13.txt

  35. RR- I find it amusing that you’re appealing to the government’s power to do the right or consistent thing in this debate. Since when have they ever done that?

    “So how does a liberterian define government and and the purpose of laws?”

    Classic libertarianism says it like this: All peaceful adult actions should be free unless they infringe on the rights of someone else. I don’t want to turn into an evangelist here, but I’ll pass you this link for further reading: http://www.theadvocates.org/about/what-is-libertarianism

  36. On this particular issue, my personal opinion is reflected in this great film by the Canadian filmmaker Brett Harvey. Most of the first half relates to marijuana prohibition (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqJO-RFQfHk).

  37. DR – You only prove my original point. This debate SHOULD be about whether or not Marijuana has medical value and should be prescribed to patients. NOT whether or not it should be flat out legalized. Whether or not we were lied to when it was originally banned is a moot point when discussing whether or not it has medical value. This is just proof that “medical” marijuana is NOT about helping sick people, its about legalizing marijuana.

    In fact, there has been no refute of my point that the Medical marijuana laws are designed to trick people into legalizing it who wouldn’t otherwise support it. The only response I’m seeing is “well it should be legal anyway.” Especially when confronted with the fact that merinol, a pill form of the chemical in marijuana that has medical value, already exists.

    If the pro-weed crowd truly believes that the reasons weed was outlawed is deceptive, then they should be trying to educate people about it. Make pamphlets, put on TV adds, hold seminars, make websites, spread the word and try to change peoples minds. THEN, try to pass an honest law that legalizes it, and does exactly what it advertises it to do. There’s obviously enough money behind the movement since it keeps getting “Medical” laws passed.

    But I guess that’s to hard to do. So instead, we’ll trick people using cancer patients and doctors who will give a wink and a nod for a couple hundred bucks.

    The funny thing is, if an honest law to legalize marijuana were proposed, I would probably vote yes. I’ve never touched the stuff, but I do realize its not that big of a deal. I simply do not appreciate deceptive laws (Obamacare anyone?,) no matter what the end result of that deception is. There has been to much tolerance of deception in politics as long as the cause is considered “good.” It needs to stop.

  38. CS- The only way you can claim that this law was deceptive is to deny that marijuana is useful as medicine. This means ignoring all the evidence for that (such as this).

    Essentially, what legalization advocates have done is to say, ‘Well, we’d like it to be legal for everyone, but legalizing it for the people who could use it most is a good start.’

    I don’t find anything deceptive, contradictory or malicious about that.

  39. Since marijuana was made illegal in a dishonest, underhanded way, then why have a problem with the way it is legalized? It seems like almost everything in this country’s history has been underhanded, from the way its land was taken from the Natives to the way we will finally get healthcare to the poor (at least according to CS, but if we wait for a Republican health care plan, then we may be here forever).
    Well, RR, it’s a shock to me that nicotine doesn’t seem to be on the list of Schedule I-V drugs, even though it is more addictive and deadly than most anything on that list. That must be the work of tobacco lobbyists keeping it off of the Schedule I list. I would say that nicotine does impair a person because I’ve seen how smokers can be when they don’t get their fix. It’s the only thing on their minds and God help the poor souls that just look at them the wrong way! It does affect your brain.

  40. If you were to rank drugs by deadliness, marijuana would be way down the list (I’m not sure there’s ever been a death attributed directly to marijuana intoxication, yet tobacco kills somewhere around 450,000 every single year).

    If you were to rank drugs by addictiveness, marijuana would be way down that list too (caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sleeping pills, etc. are all much more addictive).

    Whichever measure one uses, our system is inconsistent beyond any reason.

  41. The comparison of Tobacco and Marijuana is like comparing apples and oranges. For one, Marijuana is mind altering, and Tobacco is not.

    Number 2, the deaths caused by tobacco is because of cancer, which is by long term use. Don’t say that no one has died from Marijuana overdose in one breath, then say 450,000 people die from tobacco in another. No one has ever died from a tobacco overdose. Its the cancer caused by decades of tobacco smoking.

    We have plenty of studies on the long term effects of tobacco, IE cancer. We don’t have any on the long term effects of smoking marijuana. It is a safe deduction to think that the long term effects of smoking marijuana would be similar. The evil tobacco companies don’t put cancer causing agents in tobacco, it occurs naturally. The cancer causing agents are produced in the chemical reaction of burning tobacco. Do you really think that burning marijuana is somehow so different? They are both natural plants.

    The Alcohol/Marijuana comparison would be much more accurate, as they are both mind altering, and people DO die from alcohol overdoses.

    And yes DR, HOW it is legalized is important. Unfortunately, deception and misinformation is a common theme in politics EVERYWHERE in the world, not just the united states. its human nature to want to get your way, no matter how you dot it. It always has been. IMO, we should be fighting against that, not using it to our advantage if it gets us what we want. Maybe I’m just a little idealistic.

  42. CS- There are distinct differences between drugs of EVERY kind, so saying that nicotine and cannabis are like apples and oranges is moot. The point – which you seem to have missed – is that all the alleged properties of marijuana are shared by other legal substances, as you admit when you say that alcohol is indeed mind-altering.

    (I say alleged because although nicotine is notoriously addictive, marijuana is chemically non-addictive, putting it in the same category in that regard as, say, the aspartame in Diet Coke, whose rewards could be habit-forming but not chemically dependence-causing.)

    The point you make about smoke inhalation being the cause of cancer from cigarettes is a valid one. But, a couple of things worthy of note: first, there are popular ways to consume cannabis other than by smoking, although smoking remains the most popular. Second, the addictive properties of nicotine make death by cigarette massively more likely.

    In almost all respects marijuana remains the safer substance than those sanctified by the laws of Middle America.

  43. Interesting reading that sounds too familiar. I know it doesn’t fall under this heading, but we were talking about government.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/clayton/fbi-sovereign-citizen-cases-861611.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Req_ApifWMc

  44. Sorry about the YouTube post, but it was of a news interview of a “soveregin citizen.”

  45. Proof that marijuana negatively effects ones health with fainting spells.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62pEiFOj1QE

  46. It’s proof of nothing of the sort. Was he tested for the presence of a substance in his blood? Have clinical trials proven that fainting is the result of marijuana over a wide sample rather than just one guy who could be affected by anything at all or may even be drunk? Come on, you’ll have to do better than that.

  47. I didn’t know you take your marijuana soo serious. The guy was caught with 25 pounds of marijuana and fainted because he got caught. Call it satire, irony or whatever you want. Unfortunately, if I have to spell out my joke, it loses its effect. First, I used YouTube as proof of something. As I have said, YouTube is hardly scientific. Second, his possession of marijuana is what caused him to faint, not the comsumption. He was going to go to jail because he was breaking the law, hence he fainted. Next time I’ll stick to “Knock, Knock” jokes.

  48. Believe me, I’ve heard funnier things said in an unjoking manner on this subject. I’m glad you were kidding. 🙂

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