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Williams News | Williams, Arizona

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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: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Article comment by: James Koenig

Oh, by the way, bars and security systems? How beautiful for our tourist. A real welcoming sight. A site to grow the weed, wonderful! Nothing like listening to what the town wants. Money talks folks. Look at the photos of the scuz bags. Moore doesn't even live here thank goodness. Mayor, are you related? Just asking.

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Article comment by: James Koenig

Well, either we become a ghost town, run down and destitute or we vote the scum out of office. You choose. The reason this has aall happened is not because our council members ore weed users, maybe they are, it's because they've been paid off. Duh.

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: oh please

You are your friend are full of it. There are more drugs and drug dealers in Flagstaff then Williams. It is a small town full of lies and rumors just like all small towns, but that doesn't mean that the whole town is full of drug dealers and drug users. To say that shows nothing but IGNORANCE!!!. There aren't "major" drug dealers in town, if there were the Coco sherrifs, DPS, or the local cops would bust them.. Or arere all the cops in Northern Arizona on the take? In order to make money doing anything, you have to have a BIG number of customers, so I guess you are saying the whole town is on dope?. This medical marijuana store is a legal issue for the council, not a moral one. By the way, there have been numerous busts at the Grand Canyon, so I guess you better not go there either.

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: Jayne Klarr

A year ago I transferred with my job to Flagstaff from Tucson. I noticed the crime in Tucson rising with more car theft, home-invasion, kidnapping and it's all drug related. WHY any town would invite more illegal drug use is beyond common sense. Williams appears needy for morality in their decision making. Just two days ago my next-door nieghbor and I were talking about watching out for crime in our own communtiy and she told me that Williams is well known as THE big illegal drug dealing town in northern AZ . I was stunned. I was wanting to take the train ride in Williams to Grand Canyon with some of my family members this Christmas, but no way now. We will drive to the Canyon instead. I will avoid Williams at all costs. Williams town members and police force and City Leaders, I am sure, know this rep they have and should knip all damaging drug use in the bud. It does seem to reason that maybe Town leaders and/or police force may be getting kickbacks/payoffs from these illegal drug dealers. In a small town it should be obvious who the bad guys and gals are. And marijuana is a depressant, does give some people psychodelic affects and the tar damages the lungs which will give way to more costs to the hardworking Taxpayer. Just before I left Tucson, my brothers brand new work truck was broken into, broken glass everywhere, I know because I cleaned it up for him, he runs his own business with employees, and the police report was done by me. We later found out the guy who did this was arrested and stole seven cars in one night and was distracted when trying to get my brothers truck. We were told it was drug related. Drug dealers need money at all costs. It is costing Williams image and they don't care. Do you? I do. Me and my family will be waiting to hear what Williams does to save their town. I hope everyone in Williams reads this and takes positve action. I am an AZ native and we all know AZ depends upon tourism. Clean you act up Williams, AZ depends on you too.

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