By STEPHEN MOORE
The 420 Social Club moved to 3054 N. First Ave., inside the Many Hands Artist Cooperative, in August.
The new location offers more privacy and a more tranquil environment.
“We feel like we moved up, going from Fourth Avenue to First Avenue, so we are moving up,” said Mark Brown, one of the three founding members and a Tucson attorney.
There were several reasons for the move, Brown said. One reason was that the rent was too high, costing twice as much as their place on Fourth Avenue.
Another reason is that Brown felt they were being harassed by Tucson police. Among other things, he said they were red tagged for excessive noise. He noted that IBT’S, a bar located across the street, was just as noisy and was not tagged.
Red tags are posted by the city for unruly gatherings and must remain posted on the business or residence for 180 days. The fine for the first offense is $500.
If another gathering is deemed unruly during the 180-day period, the fine is $750. A $1,000 fine is imposed for the third violation, and each subsequent violation carries a $1,500 fine, according to the city’s website.
“Well, I’ll have to admit that there was also a guy down in the back of the place down the alley quite a ways away who just hated everything and everybody, and he was the one who was the complainer,” Brown said.
In the new location, after 5 p.m., the businesses close, so the club has exclusive use of the property. So far, no one has complained about noise or anything else, Brown said.
The club was founded in December 2014 to provide a place and events where medical marijuana patients can medicate together legally and safely.
Medical marijuana patients who live in dorms or apartments often have no place to medicate. Although legal, the use of medical marijuana in dorms or apartments is often grounds for evection.
In January, the club welcomed three local law enforcement members: Capt. John Leavitt, Tucson Police Department counter narcotics alliance head; Capt. Paul Sayre, Midtown operations division head; and newly elected Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier. The group visited the club to learn about the club and medical marijuana.
“When police smell marijuana, we want them to think of a patient medicating and not of a person committing a crime,” member David Croteau said.
Club members believe the legalization of marijuana for recreational use will solve some of the problems associated with medical marijuana.
Brown noted that the 2016 proposition benefited the dispensaries.
“I can’t even imagine how much money they make on this stuff, my mind doesn’t even go that far,” Brown said.
The club is working with Safer Arizona, a political action committee, to legalize cannabis in 2018. The ballot initiative will favor individuals over the dispensaries, according to Brown.
The fee for participating in the club is $5 per day, $42 per month, or $420 per year.