County Adopts Pot Dispensary Rules

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Gila County now has an ordinance in place for regulating the growth and distribution of medical marijuana.

At its May 3 meeting, the Gila County Board of Supervisors adopted the ordinance its planning and zoning commission and community development staff have been crafting since the measure passed last November.

Bob Gould, community development director, told the supervisors the fees for permits have been taken out of the ordinance until further information is obtained from the Arizona Department of Health Services. He said the matter would come back to the board in June to incorporate the fees.

As initially presented, the one-year permits included fees up to $5,000 for dispensaries.

Representatives of the county planning and zoning commission said they put the fees in because of concern there would not be an opportunity to get any sales tax revenue from the dispensaries.

At the May 3 meeting, Gould said taxes would apply to the sales.

He also told the board at that time only eight individuals had applied for a card for the use of medical marijuana and all eight resided in northern Gila County.

The ordinance requires any medical marijuana dispensary and its cultivation area to be in areas zoned for industrial activities and requires the dispensaries to be separated by at least 35 miles.

However, the preliminary state rules suggest that Gila County will only get two dispensaries, one in the north and one in the south.

The county’s ordinance requires that a dispensary be at least 1,500 feet from preschools, kindergartens, elementary, secondary or high schools, place of worship, public park or public community center. It also requires qualified patients and/or their caregivers to obtain a conditional use permit and have a public hearing to consider any application to cultivate medical marijuana.

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