Editorial: Why the secrecy over location of pot farms?

Warren Harris, sir, you make a very good point.

Harris took the Camp Verde Town Council to task this past week for being tight-lipped about the location of the community's medical marijuana grow facilities.

We asked the town the very same question about a week ago when reporting on marijuana grow facilities in the Camp Verde area.

When Camp Verde's building official made reference to a planned massive agriculture grow operation in the town limits last month, our curiosity was naturally piqued.

It took some time, but we finally received confirmation that the 34,000-square-feet operation off Arizona 260 between Camp Verde and Cottonwood will indeed be a medical marijuana grow operation. Along the way, we received information that this is not the first of such operations in the Camp Verde area.

In each case, Camp Verde officials choose to remain tight-lipped about the specific, or even general, location of these operations, on the advice of the town attorney, citing ARS 36-2810 confidentiality.

Interestingly though, if you read ARS 36-2810, it only makes reference to medical marijuana patients and dispensaries. It does not mention medical marijuana grow facilities.

Even more puzzling is that when we reported on a similar operation in Cottonwood, city officials were up front from the very beginning that the operation was located on West Cherry Street.

Likewise, in extensive reports about medical marijuana grow operations in Chino Valley, the editor of the newspaper there said getting access to the addresses of the facilities was no problem, as they are public record.

Ditto for the reporting by the Arizona Range News in Willcox about medical marijuana grow facilities in Cochise County.

And in Kingman, the Daily Miner has reported that its community's grow operations are centrally located in the Kingman Airpark industrial area.

It seems that most cities, towns and county governments in Arizona do not have a problem with letting the community know where such operations have sprouted up as a new local business. In Camp Verde, it's a big secret.

So, everyone else in the state is erring on the side of disclosure and transparency when it comes to the location of medical marijuana grow facilities.

Or, Camp Verde is erring on the side of secrecy.

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