Pubdate: Wed, 01 Feb 2012
Source: Coolidge Examiner (AZ)
Copyright: 2012 Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc.
Author: Sean Higgins, Editor


Could Locate in City As Soon As Summer

Former state attempts to prohibit the licensing of medical marijuana 
dispensaries are expected to stop, giving the green light to those 
looking to set up shop.

"The Department of Health has announced the state isn't going to file 
anymore appeals," Growth Management Director Alton Bruce said.
This decision looks to directly impact Coolidge, as four separate 
parties have already expressed interest in a city location.

"Three of whom identified locations in the Safeway plaza," he added, 
explaining that each will be required to submit a competing 
application. "It will only be one that is licensed (by the state)."

Early last year applicants approached the Coolidge Planning and Zoning 
Commission before hitting a dead end at state licensing.

"The Planning and Zoning Commission did approve all the applications 
that came in," Bruce said. "They were granted a conditional use permit 
subject to being licensed by the state."

So far, according to Bruce, three applicants have proposed opening a 
dispensary, one other a grow operation and dispensary. The latter 
would look to locate at the Coolidge Industrial Park, and would 
consist of an entirely indoor grow operation.

But with the state's designation of medical districts, Coolidge is 
only allotted one facility, out of the 123 designated districts set aside.

Last April the city council adopted a ordinance amendment that 
provided the process applicants used. The opening of a dispensary 
would prohibit any individual carrying a medical card from growing 
marijuana within a 25-mile radius of the shop.

The process has been a timely one, considering voters approved 
Proposition 203 in Nov. 2010.

With licensing a supposed go-ahead, a Coolidge medical marijuana 
facility seems imminent.

"From what I see from the Department of Health Services, they may be 
licensed by this summer sometime," Bruce said.

City provisions include:

 - Allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the C-2 zone by conditional 
use permit.

 - Allow any medical marijuana use (including dispensary, cultivation 
or infusion facility) in the C-3, Commerce Park, I-1 and I-2 zones by 
conditional use permit.

 - Allow medical marijuana cultivation facilities in the agricultural 
zone by conditional use permit.

 - Allow medical marijuana uses in a PAD only if such use was proposed 
in the original PAD document.

 - Allow qualifying patient/caregivers to grow medical marijuana as an 
graaccessory use in any residential zone if and only if there is no 
dispensary located within 25 miles.

 - Provides the following buffer requirements from the indicated uses:

1. 500 feet from any other medical marijuana use.

2. 500 feet from a substance abuse diagnostic and treatment facility 
or other drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility.

3. 500 feet from a church and public or private school.

4. 500 feet from a daycare center providing care to minor children

5. 1 mile from any boundary of the Gila River Indian Community.

* Sets a number of development standards including security 
provisions, prohibition of drive-thru, delivery service or outdoor 
seating areas and prohibition against on-site use. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.