San Manuel Miner
At the regular session meeting of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors held on June 18, a decision was made on the application for a special use permit that would be used for a medical marijuana dispensary in Oracle. After listening for over an hour to a number of speakers from the public both for and against the dispensary, the supervisors voted 3 to 2 in favor of approving the dispensary location in the building located at 1880 W. American Ave. Voting against the measure were Supervisors Pete Rios and Cheryl Chase. The supervisors in favor of the measure were Steve Miller, Anthony Smith, and Todd House.
Around 20 residents of Oracle attended the meeting with some of them speaking out against the approval of the special permit. Pinal County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Steve Henry spoke about the concerns of the sheriff’s department which included that it is still a violation of federal law, impaired driving while under the influence of medical marijuana, and the possibility that it will open the door to other crimes. Jim Knupp, public information officer for the Pinal County Attorney’s Office also spoke out against the dispensary.
The Executive Director of Bloom Dispensaries, Lezli Engelking gave a power point presentation explaining her company’s management policies in exceeding all regulatory standards mandated by the medical marijuana law and how Bloom believes in giving back to the community. She said that there have not been any problems in any of the state dispensaries. The dispensary in Oracle will be called Bloom Oracle. Others that spoke in support of the dispensary were Jesse Lopez, vice-president of AZ4NORML who answered questions pertaining to medical marijuana laws. NORML is the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. A professional lobbyist also spoke in favor of medical marijuana and the dispensary. Someone pointed out that the medical marijuana law is a voter approved law and that the residents of Oracle voted 55 percent to 45 percent in favor of medical marijuana. To view a video of the hearing go to the Pinal County Government site pinalcountyaz.gov.
Rita Pena, owner of the building where Bloom Oracle will be housed was contacted a few days after the hearing. She said that she is glad that the building is now rented and that it was difficult for her to attend the meetings because she felt people looked at her in a negative way. “I am more for having our community grow in a healthy way,” she said. “I hope that true patients will have medical marijuana more accessible to them and that the revenue will help the community.”