Medical marijuana shop owners are largest donors in Glendale City Council races

By Jen Fifield | Arizona Republic

The three owners of a medical marijuana dispensary in Glendale are the largest individual donors to candidates for Glendale City Council so far.

Combined, the owners of Arizona Organix —William Benjamin Myer, Ryan Wells and Mark Myer — contributed a total of $38,100 to three candidates in the city’s two competitive races in this year’s election. The primary election is Aug. 28.

Ray Stern/Phoenix New Times

The owners are contributing to candidates who, if reelected, may sometimes make decisions that will affect their business’ operations. In March, for instance, the council voted to make the city’s zoning law on medical marijuana dispensaries less restrictive after hearing the company wanted to expand.

The contributions came shortly after that vote, in May.

Owners make maximum contributions

The owners gave to both Councilman Jamie Aldama and Emmanuel Allen, Aldama’s challenger for the Ocotillo district seat.

All three owners gave Allen $6,350 — the maximum contribution individuals can make under state law — for a total of $19,050.

Mark and William Myer gave Aldama $6,350, for a total of $12,700.

Mark Myer also gave $6,350 to Ray Strahl. Strahl is challenging Councilman Bart Turner for the Barrel District seat.

Vice Mayor Lauren Tolmachoff is running unopposed in the Cholla district. She did not receive any contributions from the owners.

The contributions make up about 80 percent of Allen’s contributions from others by the mid-July filing deadline, 26.6 percent of Aldama’s and 73.8 percent of Strahl’s.

Local firefighter union political-action committees were another large donor group. They gave $9,500 to Aldama.