cannabis plant

At a work session Sept. 28, the Parker Town Council heard a presentation from someone who wants to put a medical marijuana dispensary in Parker. David Basila told the Council he recently won the medical marijuana license for La Paz County from the Arizona Department of Health Services. He wanted to introduce himself to the Council and tell them why he wants to put a dispensary in Parker.

Some Council Members noted Basila could have problems with federal law and the Colorado River Indian Tribes if he wants to put a dispensary within the Town of Parker.

Arizona voters approved marijuana for medical use in 2010. Basila said he’d run his own high tech business for a number of years before he got into the cannabis business in 2014. He said he currently has three licenses in Arizona, including one in the city of Tucson. He also has the license for Blythe, Calif.

Basila said he uses high-tech cultivation processes, and his products are sold in dispensaries around Arizona. He said his dispensary in Tucson has a reputation as one of the best in town. He said he’d received awards from the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Chamber of Commerce.

Basila described his safety record as “impeccable.” He said he also has strong security at his facilities and there have been few issues.

His company is involved in the community in Tucson, Basila said. They make many donations and contribute to local sales tax. He said his company is employee-centric, as people are their greatest resource.

While he already has a site lined up in Quartzsite, Basila said he really wanted to put a dispensary in Parker.

“This would be a win-win situation for Parker,” he said. “Users currently have to go to Lake Havasu City or Blythe. You could keep the sales tax revenue here.”

Council Member Frank Savino remarked the Town is starving for sales tax revenue.

Mayor Karen Bonds asked for recommendations from the Blythe Police Department and the Blythe Chamber of Commerce.

Basila was asked where his Blythe dispensary was located. He replied it was located next to an Alberston’s grocery store. While local officials were skeptical at first, he said this has worked out well as it’s much easier to have security and have law enforcement keeping an eye on the facility than it would be at a more remote location.

Council Member Randy Hartless and Savino both brought up the issue of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. Hartless noted the Town of Parker is within the boundaries of the CRIT reservation, and the Tribes have stated they must follow federal law. Under federal law, marijuana is still a controlled substance and is illegal.

Basila said he and his people have worked with Tribal governments in the past.

Savino said, “If you can get past the Tribal hurdle, I’m all for this.”

Bonds thanked Basila for his presentation, and remarked this is all new to the Council. She asked for Basila to provide her more information electronically.

The Parker area did have a dispensary for a time in the upriver area, Parker Green. However, it is now closed.

In November 2020, Arizona voters approved allowing limited possession of marijuana for adult recreational use. From January through August, the state has received $115.7 million in tax revenue from sales of marijuana. This included $20.4 million in August alone. According to the Arizona Department of Revenue, $6.4 million came from the medical side, $4.5 million from adult recreational sales, and $9.5 million from the state’s excise tax.

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