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Mayor, council ease marijuana dispensary restrictions

Posted at 7:10 AM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 02:03:21-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In a unanimous 7-0 vote, Tucson Mayor Romero and City Council agreed to loosen up dispensary restrictions.

The former rules were written when marijuana was only medically legal in Arizona.

Now that marijuana is legal for recreational use, the ordinance removes all language that refers to medical marijuana.

MAP: Dispensaries licensed for recreational sales in the Tucson area

In easing the restrictions, dispensaries will now have the option to move to other locations once they get the dual-license from the state.

“What we did tonight was give options to places like Harvest, it’s in a residential area, to move into some of the vacant storefronts that we have in shopping centers,” said Councilman Steve Kozachik.

Kozachik says this vote was a step in the right direction.

Here are the changes.

“We reduced the setback requirement from 2,000 feet to 500 feet for schools, and parks, and libraries and treatment facilities. The distance away from churches is included in the 500 feet...but we left in place a 2,000 foot setback restriction from other dispensaries,” he added.

Kozachik says that’s to avoid clusters of dispensaries in one location.

“And we allowed the size for the footprint of a dispensary to increase from 4,000 to 10,000 square feet,” he told KGUN9.

Which means dispensaries can more than double in size.

“And the reason for that is that if you're going from simply a medical marijuana place to now a dual-use place, you’re going to need more square footage,” Kozachik said.

With this new ordinance dispensaries can now add a drive-thru to the facility.

The Mayor and Council said during the meeting they will continue to revise this ordinance as they see fit.