If Arizona voters approve Proposition 207 to allow recreational marijuana use within the state, the Fountain Hills Town Council is ahead of the program by approving a new ordinance to regulate marijuana within the town at its Oct. 20 regular session.
The ordinance preserves the town’s ability to regulate marijuana if the initiative is approved, Town Attorney Aaron Arnson told the council.
The ordinance would not become effective unless or until the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act” is approved and becomes effective.
The town ordinance would prohibit recreational marijuana establishments and testing facilities within the Town of Fountain Hills. However, in accordance with the proposed initiative, the prohibition would not apply to a current dual licensee that operates in the community.
The ordinance also prohibits the use or possession of marijuana on town property and open spaces and it places limits on the growth of marijuana plants in private residences, consistent with the initiative.
The ordinance also provides for enforcement, defines violations and penalties.
Several members of the Fountain Hills Coalition were present at the meeting to express their support of the town ordinance ahead of the possible approval of the proposition.
Doug Hebert is a retired DEA special agent and a member of the Coalition.
“It has been my experience that drug misuse and abuse is based on accessibility,” Hebert said. “Look what we have had in the pharmaceutical industry in recent years.
“If (Proposition 207) passes we will have a lot of issues to address.”
He also noted that Colorado, which approved recreational marijuana several years ago, is reporting that for every $1 received in taxes, the cost is $4.
Shelly Mowrey, executive director of the Fountain Hills Coalition, called the proposition “addiction for profit.”
“Thank you, council, for having the foresight to be preemptive,” Mowrey said. “If this initiative passes the marijuana industry would be dictating the rules.
“I commend you for putting the interest of kids ahead of profit.”
Vice Mayor Mike Scharnow is also a member of the Coalition.
“This is an important pre-emptive strike in this battle we seem to have every few years,” Scharnow said. “This is the most we can do at this point.”
The council voted 6-0 to approve the ordinance. Councilman Dennis Brown was absent.