BISBEE â€” Proposed amendments to the countyâ€™s zoning regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities were unanimously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commissioners during Wednesdayâ€™s meeting.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act legalized the use of medical marijuana to treat specific debilitating medical conditions and allowed for the creation of medical marijuana uses operated by non-profits for the cultivation and dispensing of the medicine. The act permits municipalities and counties to set zoning standards for uses related to medical marijuana, explained interim planning director Mike Turisk.
The Arizona Department of Health Services will issue as many as 125 to 129 dispensary licenses through-out the state and six of them could be set up in Cochise County. The permitting process is done only through the state.
Dispensaries can cultivate marijuana only in â€śan enclosed, locked facility and may acquire marijuana from a registered qualifying patient or caregiver as long as they are not compensated for the material.â€ť These facilities must have a single entrance, provide security measures to prevent theft and prohibit on-site consumption and must have a 500-foot setback from existing public or private schools, libraries, day care centers or other marijuana dispensaries or infusion operations as mandated by the state, explained Turisk.
The zoning code amendments establish definitions, set which zoning designations where dispensaries will be permitted, the type of building they must be in and appropriate locations for off-site cultivation.
The dispensaries will be permitted only through special use permits in RU-4, RU-10, RU-18, Ru-36, General Business and Light Industrial zoning districts. A wall-to-building 300-foot setback will be required to limit these facilities in certain areas within the zoning districts.
As for off-site cultivation, that will be permitted, again, only through the special use permit process, in RU-4, RU-10, RU-18, RU-36, General Business, Heavy Industrial and Light Industrial zoning districts.
Permits for patients or caregivers to grow medical marijuana is ruled strictly by the state and no provisions were added for those components by the planning and zoning department.
The amendment will go before the board of supervisors for discussion and possible final approval on Tuesday, March 15, at the meeting scheduled in Sunsites.
The amendments can be downloaded from the planning and zoningâ€™s county webpage at: http://cochise.az.gov/uploadedFiles/Planning_and_Zoning/Agendas_and_Meetâ€-. You will have to scroll down to the final agenda item to view the amendments.
In other business, commisioners:
â€˘ Approved a special use permit modification to allow for a waiver on a setback for a storage shed owned by the Pueblo Del Sol Home Owners Association from 10 feet to two feet.
â€˘ Approved a special use permit modification to add 12 RV spaces, septic, water and electricity and a number of site modification waivers for Tombstone Livery on Highway 82 near Tombstone as requested by Doug and Terri Evans.
â€˘ Approved a special use authorization for a welding and power coating operation in an existing building on 6th Street in Sierra Vista as requested by Steve Murphy.
â€˘ Approved a down-zoning of a 4.3-acre plot from SR-43 (single residence on a one acre lot) to RU-4 (single residence on a four-acre lot) as requested by Roger and Judy Teply in Sunsites, AZ. The Teplys plan to build their own house and other outdoor buildings.