By Sam Conner
Winslow City Attorney Ellen Van Riper spoke on the citizen’s initiative on medical marijuana, and the permitted municipal regulation of dispensaries and growing facilities during the city council meeting Tuesday evening.
She noted that a citizens’ initiative had been passed by Arizona voters in November 2010 legalizing medical marijuana in the state. It is controlled by the Arizona Department of Health Services, which designates the location of facilities, one of which is in Winslow.
The facilities must be non-profit entities, which are headed by a medical director. They must be secure, with the products locked and enclosed, and must have required equipment. There is some local control, including reasonable zoning regulations. Because these are usually cash businesses, they are allowed in commercial zones. They do not advertise and have a clinical appearance.
Councilman Curtis Hardy asked about federal law and how it would affect medical marijuana in Arizona.
The answer was that federal officials are not enforcing it, but that may have started in some states.
Judy Howell spoke from the audience, noting that federal action could become a problem.
It was said that the employees are not users and are not violating the law.
Police Chief Steve Garnett was asked to comment, and replied that The Medicine Room, the dispensary located in Winslow, is not violating any laws.
The operator of the facility, Hugo Dixon Oates, also spoke, noting that The Medicine Room is trying to do as much as possible for the city.
The council approved the consent calendar, including the check register, minutes of the May 27 council meeting, a request to close the 1200 block of North Kinsley Ave. on July 4, purchase of a tractor with rotors for weed abatement from John Deere Company for $37,193.24, and an agreement for audit services for the fiscal year with Fester and Chapman P.C. for $36,400.
Judy Howell spoke during the call to the public, noting that the council should reconsider building a larger animal control facility and staffing it well. She criticized actions at the facility, referring to a call there regarding a snake, which resulted in no action, but the street department did act and removed the snake.
City Manager Stephen Pauken objected to having the facility called a catch and kill operation. He said that the shelter does not kill and does everything possible to avoid killing, citing the recent Adopt-a-Thon during which 39 animals were adopted.
Marie LaMar spoke, noting that the city council, city manager and staff need to be working to help Winslow grow. She said that there has been a two percent drop in population, and that some railroaders, correctional officers and other who work here choose to live in Flagstaff or some other place. She mentioned several things she thought might help improve the situation.
An ordinance was adopted approving a commercial ground lease with Aero Care Medical Transport for facilities at the Winslow-Lindberg Regional Airport for $450 per month.
An ordinance was adopted extending the Hubbell Trading Post lease and management agreement with the Winslow Chamber of Commerce.
The tourism promotion contract with the chamber was also approved.
An ordinance was adopted accepting certain grants of easements for the Southside Waterline Project as part of the city’s capital improvements project.