By Anthony Smith
As your county supervisor, I encourage anybody to examine my voting record. My actions are a matter of public record. However, when my opponent examines my record he has either chosen to purposely misrepresent the facts; or because he lacks any experience in an elected office he doesn’t understand the terminology and processes to get the facts straight.
To inform you the voter, I will again respond to Mr. Vitiello’s accusations versus my actual record.
Mr. Vitiello says: “Contrary to what he claims, the incumbent presented a motion to approve an open grow marijuana farm in the unincorporated area outside of Casa Grande and voted in favor of it on Feb. 18, 2015.”
Facts: On February 18, 2015, the Board of Supervisors did not approve a grow facility. We approved a text change to the zoning ordinance. Approving a zoning ordinance is a very different action than that of approving a Special Use Permit. At a later date, a Special Use Permit application for a grow facility did come before the Board. I voted against it.
Mr. Vitiello says: The incumbent also stated “A medical marijuana distribution center does not exist in Supervisor’s District 4 or anywhere in Pinal County.” Research shows there to be at least four such distributors of medical marijuana (dispensaries) according to Weedmaps.com.
Facts: In Mr. Vitiello’s March 16, 2016 editorial, he interchanges the term “medical marijuana distribution center” and “medical marijuana dispensaries.” I assumed he knew the difference. Again, Pinal County has medical marijuana dispensaries and medical marijuana grow facilities. We do not have medical marijuana distribution centers.
Mr. Vitiello says: “On his watch we saw a medical marijuana distribution center placed in his district over the objections of his constituents. He voted for it. Did he look to see if the person at the end of that business chain is a convicted criminal wanting to get a license to distribute pot and keep the cash?”
Facts: He was referring to the community of Oracle’s medical marijuana facility. He should be aware that Oracle is not in District 4, which is the area I represent. As a candidate for County Supervisor, Mr. Vitiello should be able to correctly identify the communities within the District in which he is running.
Regarding the background of medical marijuana applicants. The Attorney General reviews the background of all medical marijuana applicants. If Mr. Vitiello truly believes a criminal is involved in a facility, he has a duty to pursue this with the AG office.
On the issue of creating medical marijuana dispensaries: In the past year the number of medical marijuana cardholders has doubled from approximately 2,500 to nearly 5,000 cardholders in Pinal County. If a cardholder lives within a 25 mile radius of a dispensary, they are required to purchase the product from a dispensary. If a cardholder lives outside the 25 mile radius, they are allowed to raise marijuana plants in their home. We have less than 100 cardholders outside the 25 mile zone. Based on these numbers, my strategy for keeping medical marijuana out of our neighborhoods and in dispensaries has been very effective.
In all my election campaigns, I have consistently put forward plans that I believe will improve the lives of our citizens. I will not fall for Mr. Vitiello’s negative campaigning style or accept his poor research. From my experience, the voting public wants to see a candidate’s plan, and not hear constant unsubstantiated negative rhetoric.
Anthony Smith is the District 4 supervisor for Pinal County and a resident of Maricopa. He is running for re-election against Rich Vitiello.