By: Mikel Weisser, staff writer
On Wednesday night, hundreds of members of Arizona’s marijuana industry gathered at the FoundRe Hotel for the monthly MITA meeting and heard from the future mayor of Phoenix on the city’s future relationship with the industry. Both frontrunner, Kate Gallego and her fellow former city council member, Daniel Valenzuela, attended the packed event to talk about the city’s commitment to the industry and the hundred thousand medical marijuana patients in the Phoenix metro area. In particular, the audience was eager to learn about the candidates’ opinions of outgoing interim Mayor Thelda Williams’ ill-fated October surprise MMJ tax hike on medical marijuana. Both condemned the move as ill-timed, wrongheaded and promised that sort of thing would never happen on their watch.
The MITA mayoral candidate debate marked the first time since the primary election the two candidates have even appeared in the same room, demonstrating the influence and sheer significance of marijuana politics in Phoenix’s upcoming mayoral election, proving once again the power of our very active community. At the meeting, both candidates discussed their vision for the city in general and explained that they understand the clear distinction between Arizona’s medical marijuana program and adult use cannabis. Valenzuela and Gallego both pledged not make the same mistake that the previous mayor of Phoenix made by trying to tax patients. Gallego further explained her commitment to the patient community by sharing her own story of how medicinal cannabis recently helped her mother battle cancer. The candidate forum has been a two-months goal of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association (MITA-AZ), which represents dozens of cannabis businesses and tens of thousands of patients in the Phoenix metro area.
What a great achievement! Now we won’t have to spend money on lawyers and lobbyists! Arizona’s thriving medical marijuana industry will soon be an even better place thanks the next mayor of Phoenix and their support, no matter who wins; so we wish both candidates great luck on their campaigns. Early voting begins Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 and continues through March 12th.
MITA also thanks all of you who attended last night and reminds those who missed it that this is why you don’t ever want to miss a MITA meeting!