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Medical marijuana farms could be in danger with possible nearby hemp production

Posted at 10:21 PM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 11:40:25-04

AMADO, AZ — Located near I-19 in Amado, Arizona, one medical marijuana farm anxiously waits to see what the future holds for their business.

Inventory Analysis and Compliance Manager, Damien Kennedy, works for Amado Management, which is one of two medical marijuana farms in Amado, Arizona.

Kennedy says after Governor Ducey signed a bill allowing the State Department of Agriculture to grant licenses for industrial hemp operations, their business is at risk because of cross pollination.

"We have two outdoor grows and they have absolutely no protection whatsoever, so if some hemp grow should go south of us, east, west or wherever, any pollen would just drift right on there on we'd be done."

The outdoor grows aren't the only ones in danger.

"We have very, very little protection within the greenhouse. A lot of people say, oh you have plenty you have walls, but not really. This building that we're actually in right now kind of acts like a swamp cooler."

Kennedy says air from the outside gets sucked inside the greenhouse and through a water wall. If pollen from hemp were to go through that ventilation system, their $14,000,000 business and about 140 employees would be over.

"We're asking the supervisors in both Pima County and Santa Cruz for a 10 mile setback between the businesses or between the industries and that setback will give us just a little bit of a breathing room to protect our investment, our plants and our employees."

Supervisors of both county's say they are continuing to investigate the issue.

"We don't want mutual destruction. Hemp will be a good product for Arizona it really will, we just don't want it within 10 miles of us."

In Snowflake, Arizona, a similar 10 mile setback ordinance was passed last year. Kennedy says this could be a model for the rest of Arizona.