Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
His 1800s stone ranch house was decorated with rustic furniture, a smattering of family heirlooms, and a large collection of old glass bottles. Being somewhat of an antique buff myself, I remarked at the variety of old bottles he had collected. As I photographed him, his house, and the bottle collection, I asked where he had gotten them all.
“This house is on the Mormon Trail,” he explained. “I found them all on my property.”
“The Mormon Trail?” I inquired– thinking it was a migration route like the Oregon Trail or Cornado’s Trail.
The grizzled old rancher chuckled, “The Mormon Trail is the route the Mormons took from St. David to the bars in Willcox. They didn’t want their family members or church elders in St. David to know they had been drinking in Willcox, so they dropped the evidence– the alcohol bottles– along the Mormon Trail as they rode their horses back home.”
I was reminded of the old rancher’s story this morning when I read Mesa seeks to seclude shops selling medical pot in today’s Arizona Daily Star.
In an attempt to legislate morality and control the temptation of the evil weed– even though it has been approved only for medical purposes– Mesa’s city council is considering highly restrictive zoning laws. Here is an excerpt from the Star (with emphasis added).
Mesa won’t let medical-marijuana shops open in most of its commercial districts, with city leaders saying they don’t want the substance sold near neighborhoods or in prominent locations.
Instead, the shops will be forced to industrial areas and just one kind of commercial use.
The city is taking a different approach from most other Arizona cities, which so far have been restricting the shops to commercial zones. The city staff had proposed that kind of regulation, but members of the City Council feared that would put the stores at the corner of major intersections.
The stores will be restricted from most areas in the city, as they must be at least a mile from each other, 2,400 feet from rehab facilities, 1,200 feet from churches and schools, and 500 feet from day-care facilities or preschools.
A map prepared by the city shows only slivers of land where the shops could open.
This is folly, and obviously another example of Arizona’s nanny state leanings. Once the Arizona Department of Health Services sets up the system for licensing dispensaries, caregivers, and medical providers, medical marijuana sales will begin in Arizona. It will be legal– even for Mesans– to purchase medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
The Mesa city fathers should learn a lesson from the Mormon Trail story. If people want or need drugs– legal or otherwise– they will find a way to obtain then, even if it means driving to an industrial district of their lily-white city or (heaven forbid) driving into Phoenix.