Mayor, council offer thoughts on recreational marijuana – InMaricopa.com


Maricopa City Council: clockwise from top left: Councilmember Bob Marsh, Councilmember Vincent Manfredi, Councilmember Henry Wade, Councilmember Rich Vitiello, Vice Mayor Nancy Smith, Mayor Christian Price and Councilmember Amber Liermann. (City of Maricopa photo)

The issue of legalized recreational marijuana in Maricopa has ignited passions on many fronts. To find out where our city leaders stand on the issue, InMaricopa reached out to the mayor, vice mayor and all five members of Maricopa city council to get responses to three clarifying questions about recreational marijuana and a related ordinance passed by the council in a 6-1 vote on Feb. 16. Councilmember Vincent Manfredi voted against.

SOME BACKGROUND FIRST

A number of councilmembers have said they voted to get a city ordinance on the books before the state enacts its own policies, expected this month. Without their own ordinance in place before the state law takes effect, cities must follow the state law.

The ordinance prohibits recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city unless they are part of a dual-license facility permitted to sell medical cannabis, which constitutes an effective ban on recreational marijuana in the city. When coupled with the city’s restrictive code governing medical marijuana facilities, it would be highly unlikely that a dispensary could operate profitably here in town.

The state has approved licenses for 86 recreational marijuana dispensaries, including three in Pinal County: two in Apache Junction and one in Casa Grande.

Maricopa does not have a medical marijuana dispensary. The city code only allows medical marijuana facilities performing certain functions to operate within specific zoning areas. In areas zoned general commercial, for example, dispensaries may operate but not cultivation facilities. Areas zoned for light and general industrial uses may have only infusion or cultivation facilities.

The city ordinance for marijuana-related businesses includes many restrictions on

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