Reefer Madness: Ping takes pot shot at potential Phoenix neighbor

Golf-gear maker Ping was not blowing smoke when it threatened to close up shop in Phoenix if city officials did not stop a medical-marijuana shop from moving in across the street.

An article in Wednesday’s Arizona Republic had the inside dope on the situation, according to a Ping spokesperson. The piece quoted company attorney Stephen Earl saying his firm would reconsider investing $170 million in headquarter renovations if potheads moved into what the Republic labeled an already declining neighborhood.

Earl also said — after the city granted the permit for the wacky tobacky emporium, which reportedly met all zoning requirements — that moving the company was “an option that has to be on the table.”

Ping officials apparently don’t want the legal dispensers of the herb for medical purposes to corrupt the young pro and college golfers who visit the manufacturer’s 45-year-old nerve center.

“We’re concerned about the safety and welfare of our employees, visitors and the many junior golfers who visit our facility,” Ping chairman and chief executive John Solheim said in an e-mailed statement. “A medical marijuana dispensary so close may attract individuals seeking to circumvent the intent of the medical marijuana law.”

Noting the striptease club in the general vicinity of Ping’s HQ, Earl said the area was “a hotbed of deleterious uses,” according to the Republic.

To keep Ping happy and its reported 800 or so employees in town, city officials may agree to weed out the riffraff by improving “how the community presents itself to the outside world,” deputy city manager David Krietor told the Republic.

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