Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pot outlets may be OK'd in strip malls in Pinal

Pinal County supervisors are expected to vote later this month on a medical-marijuana ordinance that would allow dispensaries in strip malls.

They discussed a draft that would put pot outlets in the same zoning category as general business, amusement or recreational enterprises.

A number of Arizona communities have proposed or approved ordinances restricting medical-marijuana dispensaries to industrial zones.

That plan wouldn't work in Pinal County, Deputy County Attorney Seymour Gruber said.

"Industrial zones were too far from major streets," Gruber said. "Our intent was to have them in highly visible zones, which can lead to monitoring by citizens and law enforcement and better access for patients."

The draft says a dispensary cannot set up shop within at least 10 miles of another medical-marijuana facility and must be more than a quarter mile from a school, child-care center, library, public park, church, or abuse-treatment facility.

The state health department last week released its second draft of medical-marijuana rules, which suggests one dispensary for each Community Health Analysis Area, based on geography and population. There are 126 areas in the state.

Pinal County has a dozen Community Health Analysis areas, but only eight may be subject to county rules. The other four are on tribal land.

by Lindsey Collom The Arizona Republic Feb. 10, 2011 12:00 AM

Pot outlets may be OK'd in strip malls in Pinal

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