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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news June 24, 2016

3/20/2014 3:42:00 PM
Cottonwood Council struggles with anti-marijuana resolution
VVN/Jon Hutchinson
Tim Elinski (from left) and Jesse Dowling voted against the resolution to oppose the legalization of marijuana. Terence Pratt (right) abstained from the vote.
VVN/Jon Hutchinson
Tim Elinski (from left) and Jesse Dowling voted against the resolution to oppose the legalization of marijuana. Terence Pratt (right) abstained from the vote.

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

Correction: According to Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, George Soros is not a contributor to MPP.

COTTONWOOD -- A resolution to oppose the legalization of marijuana for recreational use was approved by the Cottonwood Council Tuesday, but it had a slow, arduous birth.

Police Chief Jody Fanning, members and director of MATForce, the PANT supervisor and director of Juvenile Probation and others were on hand to champion the resolution.

It should have been a "slam dunk." After all, Doug Bartosh, the Cottonwood city manager, is co-chair of MATForce, and the city and police department and schools have been very active in anti-drug efforts. But the council struggled with the resolution before it was finally approved. The resolution has already been approved by the County Board of Supervisors, the Camp Verde council, and Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino town councils.

Speakers supporting the resolution told of the efforts of the Marijuana Policy Project, an outside group with deep-pocket contributors like George Soros; the MPP has taken the lead in securing approval of medical marijuana legislation in many states and is now working to achieve recreational-use legislation, arguing that "marijuana is safer than alcohol."

The activism has led many children and adults to believe that "marijuana is not harmful," but the speakers one after another spoke of marijuana as a gateway drug, that regular use causes a decline of several points in a person's IQ and that legalization would give easy access in Arizona to crime syndicates and cartels.

Three of the council members, half of the vote, had questions about the resolution.

Jesse Dowling was the most outspoken, suggesting that America is doomed to repeat the failure of "prohibition" a second time and that the matter should be tabled so that the council could hear another side of the argument. He suggested that the methodology for some of those cited studies should itself be questioned.

Terence Pratt also wanted to put the question on a work session. He wondered if "maybe it's not up to us to speak for people here." He said he would like to see the matter in an open, democratic process and to "make sure that we are re presenting the people."

Tim Elinski said he had voted against approval for medical marijuana in Arizona, but he said it is easy to shop for answers and statistics. But he wanted to hear a well-rounded discussion before this vote.

Karen Pfeifer countered with a story about a friend who suffers from PTSD, but since becoming a user, he has "lost his home, his wife and dropped out of school."

Mayor Diane Joens said she was impressed when the youth commission came to the council and asked for help saying that use of alcohol and drugs by students was a major problem for their peers that needed to be addressed.

Dr. Leon Cattolico, a family practice doctor for 38 years, worried about "a motivational syndrome."

"We already have youth at risk who are not competing as they should. Legalization would make it worse."

"We are trying to get ahead of the game. After seven years of work by MATForce, we are in the base fight of our lives," said Executive Director Marilee Fowler.

She said, "I am begging you to think about your vote."

Randy Garrison said, "I am not a prohibitionist, but you have to appreciate that the only people that showed up for this discussion are against legalization."

But, Garrison went on, "I don't believe that you have a chance of shutting this down. It is a battle fought and lost. Where do we go next?"

With Councilmember Ruben Jauregui absent, there were only six council votes. The vote was three in favor of the resolution against legalization, Elinski and Dowling voted against and Terence Pratt abstained.

MATForce believes the Marijuana Policy Project will seek legalization in Arizona at the 2016 ballot.

-- Contact the reporter at

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014
Article comment by: mason graham

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Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Article comment by: Debbie Cee

I will be at Garrison Park at the pavillion, most Saturdays 8:30 - 9:30 am with the petitions to legalize cannabis. I encourage all registered voters to put this issue on the ballot. Exercise your rights!

The time has come to stop enabling the cartels and drug dealers.

To stop spending billions on a failed drug war.

To stop the militarization of our police due to easy marijuana grant programs that bring money for war equipment.

To stop incarcerating people, ruining lives and the innocent deaths caused by overzealous law enforcement.

To stop all the lies about a substance that does more good than harm and has never killed anyone.

Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Article comment by: Thank You Councilmen Jesse Dowling & Tim Elinski

For your courage to vote for the truth, the peoples will and the facts. Watching the dog and pony show of people blaming MJ for destruction of our children was just ridiculous and sad!

This isn't about the children, although they made it that way! By Matforces logic, all of our kids should be drunk all the time, high on prescription drugs and smoking like chimneys...right...that stuff is legal for adult consumption and oh boy, they are all running out to get it and what a mess. Come on, give the parents and society in general a bit more credit!

Let the parents be parents, let the peoples will be done and stop forcing your views on others. And why is law enforcement so worried about legalizing it...afraid you can't handle your job of enforcing the laws that come with legalization. You have had plenty of years enforcing it with alcohol!

This issue should have never ended up in the councils chambers. They represent the people and the people can talk for themselves. It was thrown on the agenda with little to no time for the people to do just that, speak for themselves. This was shifty all the way around, I was with Matforce until this. Sad!

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014
Article comment by: Seeing the correction about the MPP funding issue makes one wonder?

What other facts are incorrect?

Just because they say their facts are more factual does not make it true.

The presence of a uniform or a law degree does not equal fact.

The key to a person character lies in their ability to admit fallibility and consider others positions rather than ignoring or deriding them.

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014
Article comment by: To keep it simple as it can be.

Let us consider the unrelated yet popular argument that folks use in the 2nd amendment argument.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people.


People smoke marijuana, marijuana does not smoke people.

The issue isn't the's the people.

MJ is just one in a loooong list of items that are addictive. in fact it came in 13th on one list while tobacco was #2 and alcohol #8. Then tack on foods, behaviors... and the 'Demon MJ' quickly becomes a smaller and smaller issue.

Human nature and free will exist to frustrate and confound us. In this case MJ is taking the bad rap for our own fallibility's and our refusal to admit them.

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014
Article comment by: speaking up

Sheriff's and police chiefs are using our tax dollars to campaign against something the solid majority of the people think should be taxed and regulated. Police fall under the executive branch of government and thereby their place is to enforce the laws the legislative branch makes and the judicial branch interprets. Police have little professional clout or training to make or advertise broad social policies dealing with public health. Additionally Chief Fanning is violating department policy by having a political discussion in the eye of the public. This is a discipline worthy offense in the Cottonwood Police General Orders (look it up).

Groups like Matforce get major funding from various special interest groups like big alcohol and Pharma to keep their market share in legal drug dealing. Not to mention the entire industry created to drug test, lock up, "rehab" (under order of the court), fine, seize assets, and generally de-humanize a third of the population of this free country.

It is only a matter of time till it is fully legal and regulated and that is probably the best "evil" that can be obtained in this situation. We will never win this perpetual drug war, only fight it. Pot heads are just the easiest criminals to arrest, they are respectful, non violent, and will usually cooperate with Police, the drug stays in their system longer and the drug smells really strong so you cant miss it. Don't take this harmless portion of the population away from police to arrest and drag away to cages. They need them to make their stats (quotas by another name) for higher arrests to get funding for military toys to violently protect the public from their own will.

Posted: Sunday, March 23, 2014
Article comment by: David K

Prohibition is a destructive and costly failure. Despite the current annual price tag of nearly $86 million spent enforcing laws against possession in Arizona according to a recent analysis by the ACLU, marijuana is widely available, especially to adolescents. Adolescents are at higher risk of developing problems with marijuana. If we can regulate substances like alcohol and tobacco that actually kill more people we can regulate marijuana. Unlike drug dealers regulated marijuana retailers in Colorado do not deal drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth, or prescription medicines. They check IDs and they do not sell to kids. The government's SAMHSA drug surveys have reported for many years that kids say they can get marijuana more easily than they can get alcohol or tobacco. This is due to regulation. We haven't listened.

Not only has prohibition failed here it has been unequally enforced. Despite similar use rates, blacks in Arizona are 2.4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. Arizona already has a reputation for intolerance toward minorities. This is an outrage to any who demand that our laws apply to everyone.

While prescription drug overdoses kill more people in Arizona than do traffic accidents our Republican legislators spend their time trying to keep medical marijuana from patients. Our priorities in the War on Drugs do not benefit people in Arizona who are dying daily but benefit only those invested in private prisons and other selfish ventures. We can help someone who is dependent on marijuana when they are adults but we cannot help those who have died of prescription drug overdoses and who never make it to adulthood.

Posted: Sunday, March 23, 2014
Article comment by: Lets Think

Let us think about something. If we legalized marijuana for all those over 21 years of age like alcohol then only adults would be using. Next, marijuana does not affect you like alcohol does. Anyone under 21 now, who wants it bad enough, will get whatever kind of drug/alcohol that they desire. Why should anyone tell me (or anyone else over 21) what I can and can not buy? I thought that this was America. If I choose to use marijuana it is my RIGHT to use it. I am a law abiding citizen and think that there are others out there who really need the medical purpose of marijuana but can not afford it. (No different than some of these prescription drugs that are out there.)
We all take some kind of prescription medicine at some point in our lives and when we pick up that prescription there is a pamphlet stating the side affects. As long as a doctor prescribes it, it is legal. Why should marijuana be different?
We have liquor stores that generate revenue why not have a dispensary? If all Arizonaians would look at the revenue side that would be generated from the LEGAL sale of marijuana (and possibly everything that can be made from the plant) we wouldn't be having this discussion. They like the money to line their pockets, right? This would just add more.
Plus I think that everyone has forgotten something, when Obama first took over office he stated that the Federal Government would NOT prosecute anyone busted for marijuana. That would be left up to the individual states. So....... What is Arizona afraid of? Colorado isn't afraid and neither is Washington. Colorado is not in the black financially. We could learn a lesson from them.

Posted: Sunday, March 23, 2014
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

MATForce's agenda is private and not public. The people pay for the building and the utilities. The time that they spend in public structures is the public's time. It is not OK for private groups to preach in the public space. It is not OK for your city council to use the public's time on non-binding private resolutions. You people are letting your city council state your opinion for you.

Posted: Sunday, March 23, 2014
Article comment by: Medical Marijuana Card

It's strange that the council can make the final decision when they are to speak for all of us, who do they think is us? Them and the mice in there pockets. I heard nothing about this meeting as a med card holder, was the dispensary there? was Card holders there? or is it just what they say . What makes them vote on with no resistance and no background searched for this, Who's hand is in who's pocket now. A council member on MATFORCE sounds shady and one sided. I bet the council doesn't hold back at spending the money generated from medical marijuana, The Council needs to come out of the closet &1930s Reefer Madness( a MOVIE!) Ignorance is too nice to say about closed minded STUPID people. the only gateway that ganja leads to is to the nearest fridge for a cold glass of milk and Girl scout cookies. I have found that people are only going to believe what there moms and dads told them, Forrest Gump was right to say stupid is as stupid does! The world is changing so if you can't handle it step aside. Time to find out where and what the tax dollars are going i want to know, tax payers want to know. where is my money going ( answer Please I bet you have a good excuse.) using kids as an excuse is a cheap shot the cheap shot should be at THE PARENTS why aren't you listening to your children, the kids are yours and your problem, not the rest of us, if you can't control or teach them correct use of Marijuana. If you actually spoke with your children they could teach you something.

Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Article comment by: Bob Loblaw

@ Johnny Reeferseed,

I think you're onto something!

What we need to do is have our own version of the Nuremburg Trials, in NYC. The charges will be, 'Crimes Against Society'. Any member of any police department or any judge who has ignored the constitutional rights of citizens in order to allow law enforcement to persecute anyone for a drug crime, that is found guilty shall be punished according to how many times they participated in this criminal activity. Three-Strikes-Your-Out sentencing guidelines will be applied with life sentences for the most egregious offenders!

Prohibition is a crime against humanity and we need to hold accountable those who are responsible for the atrocities they inflicted!

Just as we held the Nazis accountable, there will be NO "I was just following orders" excuses allowed!

Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Article comment by: Boss Illuminati

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

hahaha, is this a joke? it will soon be legal everywhere

Senator Kimberly Yee of Arizona is denying a marijuana research bill for vetarans, she should be jailed

"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, 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 matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not 1….my turn, I gave you 20 years, watch and learn

Deaths by Alcohol and Tobacco: Millions
Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
Deaths by Guns: Millions
Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever...they are killing my American family while denying freedom

love and freedom forever


Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Article comment by: steve hunter

Since when is it legal for a town counsel to tell it's constituents what they can and cannot vote for. Basically they are saying, you the voter cannot vote to legalize pot. What authority do they have to tell voters what they can vote for or against, unbelievable.

Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Article comment by: Johnny reeferseed

I believe we should raid the Matforce budget for the celebration parade of decriminalization in 2016. Those idiots have ruined so many people's lives over nothing, it would be cool to jail them for a while for wrongful prosecution...

Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Article comment by: Yes, I did realize that that 2 voted no. But it passed due to the 3 people who.....

forgot they represent the people, and need to be reminded that their personal opinion should not interfere with representing what the majority of what the citizens want or have voted in.

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