Arizona Medical-Pot Supplier JP Holyoak of Arizona Natural Selections Wants GOP Critics to "Know Who They're Hurting"
J.P. Holyoak cuts an intense presence as he prepares to guide news media members and a couple of local state representatives through his medical-marijuana cultivation facility.
Andrew Pielage J.P. Holyoak and his 5-year-old daughter, Reese.
He appears even more stressed than the average late-30s man with three kids should be. Standing outside the nondescript brick-and-concrete industrial building in a complex of similar buildings near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Holyoak makes reporters and TV cameramen promise to keep the address of the facility secret before entering.
He lightens up only as he spells his name for everyone: "A Bible and a tree," he says with a grin before going back to his worried look.
He's not thrilled with going forward like this, he says, and he's concerned about how his family will be accepted in the community.
Holyoak's been a financial adviser since 1998, and he's an "unapologetic conservative Republican," he says.
He doesn't want to discuss or answer questions about recreational marijuana, he adds.
This comes off as a snub to one of the lawmakers on the tour, state Representative Ruben Gallego, a Democrat from Phoenix, who floated a bill this legislative session that would legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol.
Holyoak's not fawning over the other lawmaker who showed up, either -- Democratic state Representative Juan Mendez of Phoenix. Yet he shows less respect for at least one member of his chosen party: "Kavanagh disgusts me," he seethes.
He's referring to Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican from Fountain Hills, who once told New Times that his proposed repeal of Arizona's voter-approved 2010 medical-marijuana law would include no exceptions for cancer patients or anyone else.
"This should be a Republican issue, not a Democratic issue," Holyoak says. "It's a healthcare issue -- and why play politics with people's health?"
Holyoak's an agent and board member of Arizona Natural Selections, a nonprofit company that runs two medical-pot dispensaries authorized by the state Department of Health Services, one in Cave Creek and the other in Peoria. The grow operation near the airport is expected to supply weed sold at both shops and excess product can be legally sold at wholesale prices to other registered Arizona dispensaries.
Andrew Pielage State Representative Ruben Gallego inspects a medical-marijuana growing facility on Friday.
A former manufacturing facility for convenience-store sandwiches, the edifice is a sprawling, low building with a cavernous basement and large passageways. The structure appears under-utilized by the operation, with perhaps more than half the floor space unused and devoid of furnishings or equipment. Paint's peeling off the bricks in some spots, and there's a patina of dinginess from age -- it'd be a good choice of location for a scary movie.
But the sections used by the growing operation are immaculate. One hallway contains two large water tanks and an expensive-looking filtration system. Several large rooms are set up for growing marijuana: one for clones (the "babies"), one for "teens," and, finally, the flowering room, where hundreds of plants puffy with young buds stand in rows of pots. The operation's first yield is still a few weeks away.