Oh, Brother

The introduction of new medical marijuana dispensaries, in any city, can often be a raucous debate.

Interestingly, that hasn’t been the case for a proposed “Sunday Goods” one set to replace a tattoo parlor on the east side of the Galleria Corporate Center in downtown Scottsdale.

Perhaps that’s because of its upscale design, similar to what the company is doing on State Street, the main boulevard in Santa Barbara, or in Napa Valley.

Or maybe it’s due to the deep citywide support for the plan as polled by Public Opinion Strategies, the most experienced and accurate survey research firm on Scottsdale matters in the past two decades. Their survey earlier this year also found that those closest to the site in southern Scottsdale favor it by the greatest margins.

Or perhaps the lack of rancor is due to Scottsdale’s four existing dispensaries operating responsibly. The city’s Chief of Police reports few if any issues.

Finally, perhaps the substantial support is due to Scottsdale’s sophisticated city government and electorate understanding that when the Arizona Department of Health Services issued a new license three years ago for the southern Scottsdale CHAA (Community Health Analysis Area) it did so because it is one of the most underserved in the state. And it cannot, by law, be legislated out of existence.

Yet, with the City Council set to vote on the matter tomorrow night tranquility has given way to several eye rolling tactics.

First, a former city employee apparently representing the family that owns the Skin strip club is conveying bogus information to electeds because that family wants to get into the medical marijuana space. Gee, doesn’t that sound great? That ownership group versus the local one of accomplished businesspeople that make up Sunday Goods. It’s important to note that if and hopefully when Sunday Goods is approved Scottsdale’s radius restrictions and other requirements make it impossible for another dispensary to locate in the area. Those restrictions, by the way, include restricting the hours of operation from 6a-7p.

Second, a few property owners have banded together to form a “legal protest.” That means the City Council must approve the measure by five votes not four. Surely this small number has banded together to prevent too much sin in their neighborhood, right? Well, one of the supposedly aggrieved property owners is Giligin’s. This colorful bar has promoted such things as a Mini-Bar staffed by little people as well as very raunchy Facebook posts. Such perfect purveyors of moral policing they are. And then there is Social Tap, owned by a California property owner who just added a second story rooftop bar to his struggling business. Little if any of the justification for the “protest” obviously has to do with clean living. Instead, it appears a developer is making the rounds promising payments as he attempts to assemble the block for a tall development.

Third, there are even rumblings that criticism might come because dispensaries are allowed to deliver prescriptions. And this project shouldn’t be approved because southern Scottsdale residents can just have product delivered from Tempe or further away. Wow, good thing they are not in charge of our retail economy, abandoning it all to Amazon. Such observations don’t understand that delivery is a convenience for those who don’t wish to purchase in person, or who cannot do so. State law doesn’t permit a wholesale change of the bricks and mortar pharmacy experience for something like UberEats.

Just a few weeks ago the Scottsdale Planning Commission approved the Sunday Goods application on a 6-1 vote. They understood, even if they may have personal reservations about the use, that it is the law of the land. They also seemed to understand the quality of the application and that places such as Aspen, Beverly Hills and Telluride have continued to equip themselves quite well, even while the law evolved there too.

Scottsdale residents get it. The Planning Commission got it. And hopefully the Scottsdale City Council will too because if past is prologue its previous approvals of medical marijuana facilities have worked out very well, just like this one will too.