Medical marijuana dispensary proposed for Oracle - Tucson News Now

Medical marijuana dispensary proposed for Oracle

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Dozens of Oracle residents showed up to voice concerns about a proposed medical marijuana dispensary that is set to open in the 1800 block of W. American Avenue.

Some residents in the small, rural town worried a medical marijuana dispensary would bring big city problems of crime right on to their doorstep.

Representatives and an attorney from the proposed Pinal County Wellness Center held an informational meeting to talk to residents today.

Those living within 1,200 feet of the dispensary got a notice in the mail got an invitation to the meeting, held at the Oracle Community Center on Tuesday night.

Carl Riggs and his wife have lived in Oracle for 15 years.  Both were opposed to the idea of a medical marijuana dispensary as a neighbor.

"We've got enough illegal drugs here now, if we make marijuana legal which it is, it's my personal opinion crime will increase in Oracle."

David Dow, an attorney representing the Pinal County Wellness center, disagreed.  Dow said studies had shown crime to decrease in areas with medical marijuana clinics.

Dow said the modest 1,300 square foot dispensary would hold a minimal amount of medicine, and would most likely be one of the most secure buildings in Oracle.

Dow said the plan was to have almost two dozen cameras linked to feeds they could record and monitor, along with two burglar alarms outfitted on the building.

Security was serious business.  Dow said they had hired a security expert trained by the FBI to help them secure their facility.

"Basically every inch of the building would be covered.  We're not anticipating crime, but why not be safe."

Dow said the state had identified 118 districts in the state, and the town of Oracle was one of them.  Staff with the Pinal County Wellness Center said there were an estimated 90 medical marijuana cardholders in and around the Oracle community.

"They shouldn't have to drive all the way to Tucson or to Phoenix to get their medicine.  There's always some people who are going to be opposed to it but the voters did vote for it in the state and now prop 203 is the law," said Dow.

One lady asked officials what the purpose of the meeting was, and if they could say or do anything that would make them change their minds and find another location.

Dow answered and said they did not have any back up locations, and that they were holding the meeting because they were required to by state law, and to answer questions residents may have.

No decisions were made at Tuesday night's meeting.  The next step is to take the plan before the Pinal County Planning Commission, then on to the County Commission.  Dispensary staff said it could still take 3-4 months to get the approval for them to move forward.

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