Yavapai Board of Supervisors Votes in Support of Marijuana Prohibition

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Monday in support of the continued jailing and prosecution of marijuana users.

Influenced by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, a staunch marijuana foe, the 4-0 vote for a resolution in favor of prohibition was calculated to help derail planned legalization efforts.

A poll last month showed half the state wants marijuana legalized, and the Marijuana Policy Project considers Arizona a target state for a ballot initiative in 2016.

See also: -Marijuana Policy Project Plans Arizona Legalization Measure for 2016 -More Than Half of Arizonans Want to Legalize Marijuana, Latest Poll Says

Led by Polk on the issue, the Supervisors intend to "lend our support to start a stormwall, I guess that would be the best term, in anticipation of them trying to make Arizona another Colorado," says Rowle Simmons, the board's chairman.

As Simmons points out, Yavapai County is heavily conservative -- perhaps the most conservative county in the state. Although a the Rocky Mountain Poll released in mid-February shows the state leans towards legalization, Simmons says he's certain that's not the case in Yavapai County.

One glaring problem with legalization, Simmons says, is that marijuana is still against federal law. But the former Prescott mayor laughed when New Times suggested he's implying Arizonans must submit to the will of the federal government.

"I'm not saying I endorse [the federal law] -- I'm saying it's reality," he says.

Yet with Monday night's vote, Simmons and the other Supervisors suggested that they do support continuing prohibition.

Precisely why he supports it, though, Simmons found tough to explain. We asked him why it was better to arrest and jail marijuana users -- as is currently done in Arizona, except for registered medicinal users -- than to let them be.

"I don't know," was his answer.

If that implies there is no good answer, he's right.

Ironically, Prescott -- the county seat -- is perhaps best-known for its historic Whiskey Row, the site of flagrant violations of the former prohibition against selling alcohol.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern