By John Hernandez
San Manuel Miner
Residents of Mammoth attended two meetings this week and voiced their opinions about a medical marijuana dispensary in the Town of Mammoth. At the Planning & Zoning Committee meeting held on Wednesday, Aug. 14, Gregory Rowles wanted to install a modular office building in town. The building would be used later as a medical marijuana dispensary. Rowles tried to convince the people in attendance that the company would be sharing revenue with the town and paying sales tax. He said that the dispensary in Globe would be bringing in $5,000 per week and that the Mammoth dispensary would serve more medical marijuana card holders.
Residents spoke out against the dispensary saying they were concerned about their kids and the image of Mammoth. One person drew applause from the audience with the comment that it was the wrong message to send to our kids. Another resident said, “This is our town and we don’t want it.” One person also pointed out that Mammoth is an economically depressed area and that people that have a medical marijuana card would be better off allowed to grow their own plants rather that purchasing marijuana at high prices from a dispensary. The current law allows anyone holding a medical marijuana card to grow up to 12 plants in an enclosed and locked area if they do not live within a 25 mile radius of a medical marijuana dispensary.
At the Mammoth Town Hall meeting, many of the same opinions were voiced. It was pointed out and reinforced by the Town of Mammoth’s Attorney Stephen Cooper that Mammoth has an ordinance with extra restrictive zoning regulations that virtually bans medical marijuana dispensaries from being within town limits.
In other actions a zoning variance was granted to Don Jones allowing him to continue pursuing building permits with Pinal County by presenting a letter to the council alleviating them of any liability for building in a flood plain. There were other concerns about flood damage in Mammoth and the potential for people getting hurt. Terry Adams and Deanna Martinez complained to the council about problems with flooding for the past eight years and trying to get something done by the town. The mayor and town council said that a Pinal County engineer will be coming to take a look at the problem and will see if anything can be done.
During call to the public, a few people spoke out about their concerns on spending and transparency in government by the town council. Some of the questions asked, which the council could not answer due to the Open Meeting Law, were: Did the town follow procurement laws and send it out for sealed bids for the street improvements, and was it publicized? What was the name of the company/contractor? The council approved a certain amount, what was the final payoff? If the council did not go through the proper procedure, does the council not find an issue with that?
Allegations were made that a town employee had used a town credit card to purchase lunch at a local restaurant and that a town car is being used for personal use.
In other actions the town council approved the purchase of a 2014 Ford Interceptor for the police department. The cost of the vehicle will be $38,000. The purchase of a Crown cement mixer was approved for public works. The price will be $4,200. The council voted to order new computers for the office.
The town council approved the use of their meeting room during the work week for a Kiosk type office for the Department of Economic Service Family Assistance which will be closing their offices in Mammoth. The council approved a cement slab to be poured at no cost for the Tri-Community Food Bank.