Recently, I went home for Christmas, as I do almost every year. It’s where I met my husband and best friend, and where I graduated from high school. Like most young people, I fled immediately after graduation because there just isn’t much to the town. Globe, Arizona is a small copper and silver mining town in Eastern Arizona. Founded as a mining camp in 1875, the population is around 7,500. Nearby town Miami and unincorporated areas known as Claypool and Central Heights are so close that the area is often known as Globe-Miami. It sports a combined population of around 15,000.
Globe is not a particularly beautiful place – it’s rocky and hilly, filled with scrub brush and the occasional mesquite tree, just about all that will naturally grow in the blasting summer sun, save for the poplars clustered around Shit Creek, which meanders around the arroyos north of town. I never did learn the proper name of the creek, which smelled like … you guessed it: shit.
A group of Italian stonemasons hired to build the nearby Roosevelt Dam constructed a number of the town’s biggest buildings, their signature appearance a result of their expertise. Overall, though, the downtown area is largely empty these days.
The copper mines are traditionally the largest employer in the area, but the price of copper goes up and down, and at times the mines have been shut down completely, putting lots of people out of work and further depressing an already poor area. The city has tried to become a haven for antiques lovers – helped along by the conversion of many a crumbling Victorian era house into antique shops – and it also benefits (at least by the building of fast food restaurants) by lying at the convergence of a couple of state highways that lead to lakes, forests, and other recreational areas. But it’s kind of a crappy place, to be honest: run down and rather stark, sleepy and generally quiet. The giant mounds of slag are pretty ugly, and the downtown is limping along with the aid of some bars and a recently built 4-screen movie theater.
The main claim to fame of Globe in my eyes is absolutely delicious Mexican food – the best I’ve had, hands down. Globe is a haven for Sonoran-style Mexican food in general, with strong contenders being El Rey Cafe, Irene’s Restaurant, and La Casita, but one place I never miss visiting is Chalo’s Casa Reynoso. Fresh, delicious, and dirt cheap, you can’t beat it. The service is pretty good and the ambience is typical down home Mexican – stuffed bear with a sombrero, black velvet pictures of matadors, and so on.
Globe is sort of unremarkable except for the rate of substance abuse and meth addiction, a scourge in many small towns.
And then there’s the pot.
I was amused to discover – from my devout, law-abiding, former city council member mother-in-law, that Arizona’s recently passed medical marijuana bill has transformed Globe into a mecca for weed.
“The law says if there isn’t a marijuana source within 25 miles then regular citizens can grow their own,” she said. “The city council didn’t want regular Joes growing their own. So they set up an official pot collective.”
The Globe Farmacy, located smack in the middle of downtown Globe, boasts that its tasty pot cakes and candies will “have you coming back for more.” It is, apparently, the first officially sanctioned medical marijuana collective in the state. You will be happy to know that they dutifully joined the Chamber of Commerce as well.
I, of course, had to ask my mother what she thought of this.
“I can’t believe they did that!” my mother exclaimed, scandalized by the thought of the City of Globe’s new economic endeavor. “What kind of place is this?”
We didn’t discuss the moral implications of marijuana legalization, or the considerable palliative effect of marijuana upon certain diseases (heck, probably all diseases), but her outraged response brought to mind my brother’s high school rebelliousness, when he attempted to grow his own pot. It didn’t work out too well, especially since my mother discovered the straggly, drooping little plant hiding out in the attic and quickly disposed of it, chiding my brother all the while.
Lucky for my brother, though, that he can now trot down to the “Farmacy” and claim one of the rather loosely defined medical conditions and get his own stash of ganja. After all, the pain of living in a small town is chronic.
And who knows? Maybe the City of Globe has found an economic bonanza by embracing this newly legal pharmaceutical.