KINGMAN – The first medical marijuana dispensary within city limits opened Tuesday between Bashas’ and the former Kmart on Andy Devine Avenue with nothing more than a makeshift banner identifying the place, but customers had no problem sniffing it out.
About 200 medical marijuana patients a day are coming through the security doors at Medusa Farms Dispensary, purchasing product priced at $5 a gram, the cheapest in the state, manager Stephanie Cronin said.
The store offers 14 different flavors of sativa and indica concentrates at $18 a half gram, along with pre-rolled hooters, edibles and oil cartridges.
Cronin, a Kingman native, has worked the past few years at dispensaries in the Phoenix area.
“I learned what to do and what not to do in the business, so it’s nice to get all that knowledge and bring it back to the small town of Kingman,” she said. “This is really a super thing for me to help Kingman thrive.”
Medical marijuana sales are taxed at 6.6 percent for the state, plus 2 percent to 3 percent for the city, and the money goes toward roads and schools, Cronin said.
“That’s why we had to fight to be here. They want to push you out to the county,” she said. “We’re the first in Kingman. We wanted to contribute to the city, to the roads and schools.”
Mayor Monica Gates said Kingman cannot prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries, according to state law.
The City’s business licensing department worked diligently over the last six weeks to make sure the dispensary is compliant with permits and licenses, she said. Kingman Police Department worked with Building Services to find a location best suited for the business.
“I am confident that our staff will maintain appropriate oversight to ensure regulatory compliance of the business and safety for our residents,” Gates said in an email to the Daily Miner. She had no estimate on sales tax revenue for the city.
Arizona became one of 15 states to pass medical marijuana with Proposition 203 in 2010. Patient eligibility depends on the type and severity of illness, with a number of qualifications and required medical records.
Medical marijuana taxation generates about $30 million a year in Arizona.
Some groups estimate that amount could triple with legalization of recreational use. A ballot measure narrowly failed in 2016 and could be back on the ballot this year or in 2020.
The state limits dispensary licenses to 130, with about 90 of them in the Phoenix area. Prior to Medusa Farms, the only local dispensary was Kingman Hana at 2095 Northern Ave., outside city limits.
“Everything is going to stay in town,” Cronin said of the tax revenue. “I’m a big fighter for making Kingman better and pulling money back to Kingman. We’re a poor community and elderly community. That’s why we’re here. You can’t turn your head to what it’s helping. I hope people have a more open mind about alternative medicine.”
Cronin said she has two close friends, one suffering from epilepsy and the other from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and both are being treated with medical marijuana with positive results.
The City of Kingman was “very welcoming” for the dispensary, recognizing not only the potential for tax revenue, but that Mohave County has been identified as one of Arizona’s problem areas for opioid addiction, which is a qualifying condition to receive a medical marijuana card, Cronin said.
“You have these stories every day from someone who was on 22 medications and now they’re on this,” she said. “It’s got to be better for their health.”
Medusa Farms is selling marijuana products at close to wholesale prices, and eventually the company will branch into its own cultivation, she added.
“I’m really happy to be part of this movement. This is like the second Prohibition that we’re in the middle of,” Cronin said.