Apparently somehow unaware that marijuana is already easily available to practically any young person in America who wants it, one volunteer police officer in Kingman, Arizona, is pulling all kinds of drama-king moves over the coming of legal, medicinal cannabis to his town.
Harley Pettit of Kingman, Arizona says he’s seen young people get in trouble for everything from drugs and alcohol to vandalism. And Harley says that in a small community “with not a lot to do,” the last thing young people need is another way to get into trouble, reports Alyson Zepeda ofCronkite News Service
And, of course, Harley is worried that’s what this newfangled medical marijuana stuff is going to give them. Well, news flash, Harley — for those of us who aren’t stuck in some king-hell 1950s time warp, young people are already smoking marijuana, they have been for 40 years, and they don’t have to buy it from medical marijuana dispensaries.
“I think it’s a given that it’s going to get abused,” Harley laments. “It’s just a matter of fact.”
Of course, being the good cop he is, Harley voted against Proposition 203. Election records show that Kingman as a whole rejected medical marijuana by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. In fact, as the AP points out, 12 of 15 counties in Arizona voted against Prop 203 — but the three counties that voted for it are the most populous.
Meanwhile, you have local good ol’ (drama) boys like Harley lamenting the coming of the 21st Century. Pettit said he “has no choice” but to help his city “limit the consequences.” (Damn, sounds like a natural disaster or something. Get over yourself, Harley — medical marijuana’s about helping seriously ill patients, not about teenagers and not about some washed-up redneck cop who enjoys seeing his name in the paper.)
But Harley just can’t let the issue be, and he wants to make sure folks in Kingman — even the patients battling debilitating conditions, which is to say the people the law was passed to help — aren’t able to buy it.
Pettit has turned to his only remaining outlet, showing up at Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission meetings and urging members to not allow a marijuana dispensary inside the city limits.
|Photo: AZ Capitol Times
|Commissioner Sandi Reynolds: “If we had any way to not allow it in Kingman, we were going to not allow it”
Sandi Reynolds, a commissioner, said she and other members felt the same way as Pettit. And like ol’ Harley, she’s being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. Silly old medical marijuana law, voted in by those sophisticated city slickers!
“I think not only I but most of the people on the commission were thinking that this was not going to happen in Kingman,” Reynolds said, evidently horrified by the grim prospect of terminally ill patients actually finding some relief in their last days on earth. “If we had any way to not allow it in Kingman, we were going to not allow it.”
Reynolds said that members of Kingman’s Planning and Zoning Commission were hoping to make the city’s regulations so strict that it would be too difficult to operate a dispensary within city limits. But that was before the city attorney advised the commissioners that a zoning ordinance that strict would probably fall outside the proposition’s allowance for “reasonable rules.” Ya think?
So, forsooth — it seems when it comes down to zoning requirements, excluding medical marijuana dispensaries from Kingman just wasn’t a legal option, a dismayed Sandi found. The commissioners “reluctantly” voted to allow them in just one type of commercial area and the city’s industrial zones.
|Photo: AZ Capitol Times
|Capt. Dwayne “Rusty” Cooper would like for the dispensary to be next door to the police station
Most cities in Arizona have already approved zoning regulations in preparation for June 1, when the Department of Health Services will start accepting applications to open the shops, according to Ken Strobeck, executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
Most of the communities have taken a similar approach to Kingman by allowing the pot shops in industrial areas, according to Strobeck, with few willing to let them operate in main business areas.
In the rural areas of Arizona, cities have started out hating the idea of a dispensary, according to Andrew Myers, who was campaign manager for Prop 203. But then they realize that the alternative would be marijuana growing in homes — patients are allowed, under Arizona’s law, to grow their own if the nearest dispensary is more than 25 miles away. And at that point, they decide that having a dispensary may be the best option.
In fact, Dwayne “Rusty” Cooper, captain of the patrol division for the Kingman Police Department, said it would be nice to have a dispensary right next door to the station.
“It would be easy for us to just keep tabs on it,” Cooper said. “It made a lot more sense.”
Meanwhile, if you need any pot in Kingman or a hundred other small Arizona towns like it, you’ll probably need to go to the high school to score, because the dispensaries aren’t open yet.