Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Coming To Rancho Vistoso

The Town has received a medical marajuana dispensary building permit for a facility to be located in the Safeway Center at Rancho Vistoso Blvd.   The application was submitted in December and, based on State Law, the town is required to approve it if the request is in compliance with all town code. It is compliant, according to the town attorney.

Lest you fear that this new center will become a hub for drug activities, there are ample rules and regulations governing the creation and operation of the facility.  Some are mandated by mandated by the State (A.R.S. 36 Ch. 28.1).

State regulations require that the facility "...shall have a single secure entrance and shall implement appropriate security measures to deter and prevent the theft of marijuana and unauthorized entrance into areas containing marijuana."   In addition, "All cultivation of marijuana must take place in an enclosed, locked facility at a physical address ...which can only be accessed by registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary agents."  There's even a "no smoking on-site rule":"... shall not permit any person to consume marijuana on the property." (Section 36-28060

The State regulations give cities and towns the right to..."...enact reasonable zoning regulations that limit the use of land for registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries to specified areas in the manner."

The town had done just that:
  • The applicant must submit a floor plan that demonstrates compliance with the States' security requirements.
  • The dispensary can not be more than 2,000 square feet and the on-site storage can not be more than 400 square feet.
  • The dispensary can only operate between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.
  • The facility must be in a permanent building.
  • The facility must be set back at least 1000 feet from any facility where children are enrolled, a library, a park, a drug treatment facility.
  • The facility can't have a "drive-thru" window

There seem to be ample restrictions.

There are some practical, legal restrictions also.

Having a license to obtain medical marijuana does not give one a license to drive under the influence. Or to smoke it in public.  That is, though it may be considered to be a "drug," it does cause one to be under the influence. Therefore, one should be very careful to use it at home and to not to drive after using it.

"An [Arizona] appeals court has issued a ruling that upholds the right of authorities to prosecute pot smokers in Arizona for driving under the influence even when there is no evidence that they are actually high." (source) We are sure that the Oro Valley Police will be on the lookout for such "violations."

We doubt that Arizona will become the pot center of the West. That honor will go to the State of Colorado. That State is doing all it can to become the " pot tourism" center for the country.   Their legislature recently approved a measure that would allow anyone over 21 to purchase marijuana.   In fact, pot is now the growth industry of Colorado.

Ed Note:  It is not our purpose to state politically one view or another when it comes to marijuana. We really are writing this to inform you that it is coming to our town. It is something of which you need to be aware.

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