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3/3/2014 8:48:00 AM
'No' to legalizing marijuana, says Town Council
Trib file graphic
Trib file graphic
"Within the last 30 days in our county, one in four high school seniors used marijuana on a regular basis," Polk said.

Briana Lonas
Reporter


The Prescott Valley Town Council last week approved a resolution opposing the legalization of marijuana, and nearby communities soon will be presenting their own resolutions.

Prescott Valley Police Chief Bryan Jarrell said a strong movement exists to persuade the American public that marijuana use is not dangerous and no more harmful than alcohol. Jarrell went on to say that alcohol is the number one abused substance in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"Our main concern for any drug use is the impact it has on our youth," he said.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 72 percent of students have consumed alcohol by the time they graduate. Other statistics cite that marijuana use, including alcohol and other illicit drugs, costs $600 billion in associated crimes to include loss of productivity to employers.

"So marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol?" Jarrell questioned.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, who serves as the co-chair of MATForce, said she is concerned about the trend regarding marijuana, as this drug use is on the rise within the county, state and nation.

"Within the last 30 days in our county, one in four high school seniors used marijuana on a regular basis," Polk said.

She added that 2012 marked the first time in the state and county that high school seniors used this drug at a higher rate than tobacco.

"Why is this happening? Our kids think marijuana is harmless. It's much more potent today than it was in the 90s," she said.

More people across this country are in treatment for marijuana abuse than any other drug, surpassing alcohol, she added and mentioned that Colorado is a state to take a close look at because it legalized medical marijuana and in 2012 legalized recreational marijuana use.

"This state has seen a dramatic increase in the number of youth using this drug. And an alarming rate of kids and young adults are seeking treatment for this addiction," she said.

Polk asked the audience, "What if we just legalize it and regulate it?" then said, "That's already been tried and failed. We know that if a product is legal, it becomes more accessible, more socially acceptable and our kids will use it at a higher rate."

Citing several studies, Polk said that 11.6 percent of Arizona kids say they get their pot from those holding medical marijuana cards and 32,000 high school students would be more willing to try it if it were legal. She added that Colorado has experienced an increase of 114 percent, between 2006 and 2011, in traffic fatalities where the driver was impaired due to marijuana.

Should council determine legality?

Moments before the council motioned to approve the resolution, councilmember Stephen Marshall spoke.

"Since being elected to the town council, I've heard the council say to the state to 'stay out of our business' multiple times. If we want (the state) to stay out of our business, how are we going to tell them not to approve this?" he said.

Marshall said according to his research, marijuana arrests have cost Arizona taxpayers well over $300 million dollars.

"The cost involved in criminalization is completely ridiculous," he said.

Marshall said the legalizing or decriminalizing of marijuana would take the power away from the Mexican drug cartels and essentially take away any monetary incentives they would have to be involved with the distribution of marijuana.

"Parents need to be responsible for their kids, not the government," Marshall said.

He recapped his position by saying the council should mind its business as a town and concentrate on making Prescott Valley a better place to live and let the state decide on state issues.

"Fifty-two percent of Arizonans already support the legalization for marijuana... voting for this resolution will be a slap in the face for every citizen we were sworn to represent," Marshall said.

The council voted 6 to 1 in favor of the resolution.

StoneRidge election imminent

After the regular meeting, council assembled as the StoneRidge Community Facilities District and quickly approved a resolution to set an election for April 8 that could revoke the district's current bond authorization of $18.2 million.

As the CFD district manager, Town Manager Larry Tarkowski talked about the board's actions over the past three years in moving beyond the former StoneRidge developer's bankruptcy and successfully refinancing the district bonds.

In 2001, original developer SunCor was authorized a ceiling amount of $33 million in general obligation bonds towards the building of necessary public improvements for the new master-planned community. The CFD board at that time authorized and issued $14.8 million in bonds.

The recession caused SunCor to file bankruptcy in 2012 and Univest took over the remaining lots.

In May the Town Council approved a resolution to refinance the original $14.8 million.

"Our bond council has said, this has never been done before," Tarkowski said, referring to the call for an election, then spoke to the council, "If you vote for this, we'll have an election for April. Regardless of the outcome of the election, there is no implied warranty on this action."

Related Stories:
• 'No' to marijuana: Chino council follows Prescott, Prescott Valley
• County joins resolution against legalized pot


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014
Article comment by: Real Example

Portugal legalized all drugs 11 years ago, and now they have a 50% drop in all addicts.


That is the proof that our war on drugs is a failure and will continue to be a failure. These people need medical care, not prison.
And the justice system should support this as well.


Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014
Article comment by: brent farley

Follow the money.

Pot arrests feed the coffers of cities, counties, states and private prisons. They also create jobs and overtime in all those above. Anyone involved in enforcement, prosecuting and fine revenue is automatically going to be against legal pot.

They are more addicted to the revenue and the power than any pothead is to his pot.


Posted: Saturday, March 8, 2014
Article comment by: David Kessler

When we make something illegal we don't regulate it. Our current system leaves the sale of marijuana to drug dealers who are willing to sell it to our kids and who also sell them far more dangerous and addictive substances. Marijuana retailers in Colorado do not sell other drugs and they check ID's to be sure that they do not sell to kids. If you wonder how well our current system works please keep in mind that for many years now our kids have reported on the government's own SAMHSA drug surveys that it is easier for them to get marijuana than it is to get alcohol or tobacco. It really is time for us to consider legalization and taxation of marijuana in Arizona as a better way to keep marijuana out of the hands of kids.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Fear and Loathing of Town councils

Apparently Polk and others have not paid attention to what is being said by Dr Oz and others in the media , even the prez said its no worse than vodka. I'm not surprised that AZ conservatives are terrified of its effect on kids today, all they know about pot they learned from movies like Reefer Madness.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Bob Marley

Its the parents job to educate their children on cannibis, NOT the government's! What an absolute WASTE of tax payer money, a resolution doesn't meet anything! Your clearly going against the will of the PEOPLE, the polls all over the country show it. The most benifical plant on the planet cant be stoped or lied about anymore!!

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Boss Illuminati

the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, and 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice...no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...

Average spent per inmate a year = $31,286 (profit and police over people)
Average spent per student a year = $10,605 (dumber and more in debt, each one of us is liable for around $40,000 of rising American debt)

love and freedom forever

AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS!!!33


Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Article comment by: PRESCOTT VALLEY NEWS CENSORS READERS COMMETS

PRESCOTT VALLEY NEWS CONTINUES TO CENSOR PRO MARIJUANA COMMNETS!!!

ALTHOUGH THIS WONT BE PUBLISHED, IT'S JUST AS REMINDER TO THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OVER THERE.

YOU CAN'T SUPPRESS FREEDOM OF SPEACH OR MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION FOREVER!!!

...

COWARDS

YOU CALL YOURSELVES JOURNALISTS?

CENSORSHIP IS PLAIN WRONG!!!!


Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Article comment by: Brian Kelly

There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority of Americans.. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what's left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?

Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

Legalize Nationwide!...and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!


Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Article comment by: Dick Marley

If you think marijuana is not dangerous, then you need to bury your head a little deeper in the sand.

Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014
Article comment by: Pat Murphy

Glad to see someone taking a stand to oppose
legalization. Let's hope all of Arizona does the
same. It is not a harmless drug and you have to
be a pothead to think it is! Alcohol is bad enough,
let's not add pot to the mix. Our leaders and role models are not sending the right message to young people. Let's hope some of them wake up
and realize this is not a good direction for our country.




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