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10/2/2012 10:35:00 AM
Marijuana dispensary gets green light in Williams
Williams City Council votes unanimously to allow medical marijuana facility on Route 66 at east end of town
Left: Ryan Schmitz voices his concerns regarding a medical marijuana facility on Route 66 in Williams during the Sept. 27 Williams City Council meeting. Top: Tim Moore, with Cannabis Research Group, listens to community response. Bottom: Williams Police Chief Herman Nixon discusses the dispensary’s location. Clara Beard/WGCN
Left: Ryan Schmitz voices his concerns regarding a medical marijuana facility on Route 66 in Williams during the Sept. 27 Williams City Council meeting. Top: Tim Moore, with Cannabis Research Group, listens to community response. Bottom: Williams Police Chief Herman Nixon discusses the dispensary’s location. Clara Beard/WGCN

Clara Beard
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Despite vocal resistance from the public against the possibility of a local medical marijuana dispensary on Route 66, the Williams City Council voted unanimously to approve the facility Sept. 27.

Cannabis Research Group (CRG) now has the go ahead to open a dispensary at 341 East Route 66 in the old Poquette Realty building via conditional use permit.

The facility will serve individuals in and around Williams with a medical marijuana card, but the majority of the dispensary's focus will be to provide medical marijuana to the research center's patients in Scottsdale at Desert Springs Cancer Care.

There are 60 registered medical marijuana users in the Williams area and 1,700 patients at Desert Springs Cancer Care with approximately 1,000 in clinical trials presently. None of those patients would be traveling to Williams to collect medical marijuana.

Mayor John Moore opened the meeting by explaining that after Proposition 203, Arizona's Medical Marijuana Act, was approved it became mandatory under state law to allow for dispensaries under city ordinances.

"We have to think about the legal issue not the moral issue," he said to members of the public, a number of whom were there to voice concern about the dispensary's downtown Route 66 location, its possible effect on the tourism industry and the message it might convey.

Local resident Ryan Schmitz, who also spoke out against the dispensary at the Sept. 20 P&Z meeting, said that if his biggest concern was safety, then he considers the zoning to be "fine." If it was the effect such an establishment might have on the tourist industry, then having no signage would be fine. But those weren't his biggest concerns.

"It's not about what's in the building, it's what is communicated about standards," Schmitz told council members. "It's an ideological Trojan horse, and the same has gone on with tons of morality, the more exposure you get to it, the more acceptable it becomes. I can tell you that as an ex-user, that it's not funny, and it's not just like alcohol."

In response to requests from the public to find a new location within Williams for the dispensary, Moore said there just aren't a lot of properly zoned usable options.

"We cannot pick and choose where we want our zoning permits to be," Moore said.

Williams Police Chief Herman Nixon said that the dispensary will be in a location his officers can easily patrol, therefore more practical than if it were placed in a residential area.

Williams resident Bobby Patricca asked the applicant, Tim Moore, if he was worried about future animosity shown towards the dispensary.

"We honestly didn't expect this type of reaction. We thought this would be a more open minded town that would say, 'yeah, that's a progressive idea, let's do that,'" Moore answered. "I don't mean to say that off-handedly at all, because we are very concerned about what people think, and I think what will happen is time will tell."

One member of the public, who attends council meetings regularly, spoke in support of the dispensary.

"I've read a lot about medical marijuana and dispensaries, and I support it," she said. "I wasn't sure I supported having one on Route 66 until I attended the P&Z meeting last week. This is something that is coming to Williams and I think it's coming in a good way at a very good place."

A marijuana cultivation site has yet to be determined but will not be located in the immediate area.

As for security, Tim Moore said all marijuana would be secured in a locked safe at all times barring when needed during working hours. Bars or security shutters will be installed inside the building as well. Video surveillance systems and alarm systems will also be installed.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Article comment by: Carinda Weston

I think that Williams is a small home town in which family's want to come and enjoy, why bring this to town. I read the posts for and against this and it seems to me that to have a dispensary on the main route of town, known as blood alley because of the location an accidents WHY? When you are trying to create the Old town feel of the days of Ole'Town Yester...Days with the wholesome fun Town events and Polar Express keep it clean and others will come and enjoy, live and prosper. Let others who want this go else where to pick up their weed....... OPen this Door and it begins to grow in ways you may not want!!

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Article comment by: Ron Pauly

I can see that many are very intent on controlling others and dont care about personal freedoms.You well fit in well with our developing police state.You likely think everything is ok,until they find something you have is bad or against the laws or rules.Even if you arent hurting anyone.
Right now the FDA is working on making all herbs and vitamins being prescribed.So all the things people buy now to help theyre health well soon be by perscription only.Because the government knows better than you do about whats good for you?
Genesis 1:29. I prefer seed bearing things from God over products created by man.
Natural herbs or synthetic drugs made by man?Wich would have more side effects?
Like pizza and twinkies from man or apples and berrys from our creator.Wich thing is better for you and where did it come from?
Well you have freedom to choose? or well it be dictated what is good for you?
Its more than people wanting to smoke pot.

Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012
Article comment by: Sam Koenig

Too bad. First we will vote everyone out and second could have gone to medical clinic, pharmacy or Flagstaff to get it. Makes you wonder. What, clinics or pharmacys don't offer weed? I wonder why? Money talks.

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Article comment by: HR Puff N Stuff

Churches hurt children. Lets get rid of the churches and make church-goers commute 20 minutes to Flagstaff. They can even carpool for to get their fix.

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Article comment by: Ron Pauly

Well im glad to see that the rule of law and common sense have won.Dont worry the pot shop wont effect your lives a bit.
People here are smoking dope all around you already.

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Article comment by: Patrick O'Brien

I see here lots of comments, some with merit, some without. Can the state "force" Williams to allow this dispensary? Do we just not want to fight the state or the entity applying for the permit?

How easy is it to get a med card to get the dope? Yes, it is dope. Will only qualified individuals get the card? I don't believe that is the case in California and other states. This is abused and heavily abused everywhere.. So does Williams want to make it easy for these "cheaters" to get the dope? I submit to keep it illegal so it is still criminal offense to procure it.

Let the true cancer, ect., patients use it and go to Flagstaff to get it. There now is a strain of marijuana grow that can be juiced and is effective for the symptoms I think that is the true solution....dopers won't want that because they can't smoke it!

Why condone making Williams stupid? Is that the best for our city?

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Article comment by: Howard Jarvis

I don't think any person with half a brain would consider moving the dispensary a block or 2 off main street would be considering hiding it. What a joke some of these comments are...

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: Ice Tea

Whiskey, I would like everyone in Williams to stop drinking alcohol and get rid of that weed shop on Rt. 66. Replace everything with orange juice and a sweet shop. Smoke stinks and is dirty. People who smoke look ugly. The nicotine get in their hair and face. Alcohol stinks. People look ugly drinking from a bottle and look disgusting when falling on everyone. Why would I want to eat marijuana when I could eat watermelon instead. Why waste my money on junk. Now, you had your opinion posted now I'll have mine posted.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: J P whiskey

I would like to see everyone in Williams eat marijuana. Few people realize the marijuana, in it's vegitative state before it flowers, is a vegetable. There is no high when eating marijuana raw because it hasn't been heated, cured, concentrated, etc. A wide range of positive effects from complete reductions in daily medications, to wieght loss, lead to an overall improvement of the standard of living. There shouldn't even be an argument about the location of a dispensary. Once you know the real truth and potential of this plant, the issue over smoking it will be an after-thought

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: mrs. johnson

like i said jarvis, how do you know how much medical marijuana a medical patient needs, or how much they could possibly use in a day? i didn't ask you what the legal amount was that they could buy in any particualy time period. also it has been pointed out that the council could not "hide" the site. i guess the laws are too much for you to be able to comprehend.

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: Howard Jarvis

I didn't think I would have to spell it out mrs j. It's 2.5 oz every 2 weeks. You do the math. My"beef" with the council is where they allowed it to go - right on our tourist drag. It could have been hidden but that might have taken a little thought of less "agreements" being made by the good old boys in town

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Mrs Johnson

That is what I thought, Howard Jarvis doesn't know how much medical marijuana any one particualr patient may or may not need per day. Get over it, the council did what they had to do. Seems like your beef should be with the voters of the state of Arizona who passed it.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Bobby Patricca

Mack, how can you compare the 3rd largest city in the country with a town of 3,000 people? Of course there is crime and corruption in Chicago, there always has and always will. Just because someones car gets broken into in Chicago or Tucson because of drugs doesn't mean that it will automatically happen here. Newsflash, everyone, people with green cards are smoking it today. They smoked it 6 months ago. They will smoke it 6 months from now. The difference is that with the dispensary, they have to go somewhere certified and secure to get it. If there was no dispensary, they could each grow 12 plants themselves, with no supervision or security keeping those plants from being sold to others illegally. Which would you have? One building, with no signage, under tight security? Or 12 plants in any of your neighbors houses?

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Howard Jarvis

If you read up about the law and the arguments given by both sides, it's easy to get the information...

Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Article comment by: Mrs. Johnson

Howard Jarvis:

How would you know how much medical marijuana some one would need or use on a daily basis?

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