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3/19/2014 9:40:00 AM
'No' to marijuana: Chino council follows Prescott, Prescott Valley
Paulden resident Starr Bennett speaks to the council, opposing the resolution.
Photo courtesy Salina Sialega/Chino Valley Review
Paulden resident Starr Bennett speaks to the council, opposing the resolution.
Photo courtesy Salina Sialega/Chino Valley Review
Lora Lee Nye, council member for Prescott Valley, addresses the Chino Valley council concerning the marijuana resolution. The PV council previously opposed legalization as well.
Photo courtesy Salina Sialega/Chino Valley Review
Lora Lee Nye, council member for Prescott Valley, addresses the Chino Valley council concerning the marijuana resolution. The PV council previously opposed legalization as well.
Photo courtesy Salina Sialega/Chino Valley Review

Salina Sialega
Special to the Tribune


Following the same decisions as Prescott and Prescott Valley councils, the Chino Valley Town Council March 11 also voted not to support any future legislation to legalize marijuana.

The resolution they approved opposes the use of recreational marijuana, not the existing medical marijuana law, Mayor Chris Marley clarified. Chino Valley has both medical marijuana growers and a medical marijuana distributor in the community.

Marley asked for a show of hands in the audience to determine how many people were for or against the resolution.About four people opposed the resolution and about 10 showed they were in favor of the resolution. One person spoke against the resolution and two spoke for it.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk spoke at the meeting on behalf of MATFORCE, a coalition of professionals, politicians and other citizens working to reduce the effects of drugs and alcohol use in the county's communities. She's the organization's co-chair and the organization is the primary sponsor of the resolution.

Polk said MATFORCE's main concerns with recreational marijuana involved use by kids, who often believe it's harmless. She said among high school seniors, use of marijuana surpasses their use of cigarettes. One in four are regular marijuana users, she said.

"Our kids' use of marijuana in Yavapai County is on the rise, and it's on the rise in the state of Arizona and it is on the rise across this nation," Polk said.

She talked about marijuana addictions and links to mental illness, damage to a young person's brain and to their success in school. She also spoke about the failures of legalized marijuana laws in other states, as well as the medical marijuana laws, which she said means easier access to the drug, sometimes from those with medical marijuana cards.

"If something becomes legal, it has the perception that it's not risky and that it is socially acceptable," she said.

Polk also talked about a group, called the Marijuana Policy Project, supported by millions of dollars, that goes from state to state working to get recreational marijuana on the ballot, and were successful in getting it legalized in Colorado in 2012.

Paulden resident Starr Bennett spoke against the resolution, and encouraged the audience to watch a neurosurgeon's report on CNN that night about how medical marijuana helps children with serious medical conditions.

Bennett said later that she is against governing bodies trying to block legislation of any kind from coming before citizens for a vote. She said it diminishes democracy because a precursor stops the voters from deciding what they want to do.

"This is America and the last I checked, it's by the people and for the people," Bennett said. "This resolution makes it appear that no one in Yavapai County wants this on the ballot." She said that is false.

Prescott Valley Vice Mayor Lora Lee Nye spoke in favor of the resolution, and said that as a former chemical dependency program manager, she saw the "devastation" and is against recreational marijuana.

Nye described a drug case involving teens in Nebraska, who bought marijuana from a medical marijuana user in Colorado, then resold it in Minnesota.

Council Member Linda Hatch, who joined the meeting via telephone, asked Polk how students are getting marijuana now.

"If it's already illegal, how is it going to change with the resolution?" Hatch asked.

Polk said the hope of the resolution is to keep usage from going higher among kids.

Marley said he wants to send a message to kids by voting for the resolution, taking a stand against the use of recreational marijuana.

Council member Darryl Croft said in his careers as a naval officer and as a Human Resource department manager, he's seen he use of marijuana ruin many people's careers.

Council Member Lon Turner said he wants no laws that would make it easier for young people to get and use recreational marijuana, pointing out that the state has underage drinking laws.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.

Related Stories:
• County joins resolution against legalized pot
• 'No' to legalizing marijuana, says Town Council


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Article comment by: Joan Liddel

"If something becomes legal, it has the perception that it's not risky and that it is socially acceptable," she said.

If that is true, why has tobacco use been dropping so much over the last few decades to the point that now more high school seniors smoke pot than cigarettes? They are getting the message on tobacco, but not many are buying this message we are supposedly sending by keeping marijuana illegal for adults.


Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Article comment by: Brian Kelly

Regarding "The Children",

What message are we sending our children when it is easier for them to obtain marijuana now with it being illegal than it is for them to buy alcohol?

It doesn't take the intellect of a genius to understand that stores card kids for I.D.. Thugs and gang members do not. They also push the real hard drugs on children. Stores do not.

Marijuana legalization will make it harder for children to obtain it.

What message does it send our children when the President of The United States himself alongside a long list of successful people openly admit regular pot use at one time or another in their lives, while we lie to our kids by telling them about how marijuana will certainly ruin their futures?

The Prohibition of Marijuana is the wrong message to send our children while we glorify, advertise and promote the much more dangerous use of alcohol like it's an all American pastime.

The worst thing about marijuana and our children is what happens to them when they get caught up in the criminal justice system due to it's prohibition.

Protect "The Children" and Our Neighborhoods Through The Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Nationwide!.




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