TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona voters will decide on recreational marijuana when they cast their decision on Prop 207.
But on Monday, Oct. 26, the town of Sahuarita preemptively put rules in place against it.
In a 6-1 vote, the town council voted in new restrictions.
It’s well within their right to enact such an ordinance as Prop 207 was written to give cities local control.
″I think there was enough concern on everybody that we’d rather be cautionary proactive cautionary," said Sahuarita Mayor Tom Murphy.
The ordinance adopted bans the following:
9.20.030 Marijuana prohibited on public property.
A. The use, sale, cultivation, manufacture, production or distribution of marijuana or marijuana products is prohibited on property that is occupied, owned, controlled or operated by the town of Sahuarita.
B. It is unlawful for an individual to smoke marijuana in a public place or open space in the town of Sahuarita.
9.20.040 Marijuana establishment prohibited; dual licensee exception. A. To the fullest extent allowable by law, the operation of a marijuana establishment is not permitted in the town of Sahuarita, except where authorized for a dual licensee who: 1. Operates both a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary and marijuana establishment cooperatively in a shared location; and 12.1 Packet Pg. 423 Attachment:
Ordinance No. 2020-0152 [Revision 1] (TCA Recreational Marijuana) Sahuarita, Arizona Ordinance No. 2020-0152 Page 5 of 5 2. Has not forfeited or terminated the nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary registration from the Department. 9.20.050 Marijuana testing facility prohibited. A. To the fullest extent allowable by law, the operation of a marijuana testing facility is not permitted in the town of Sahuarita.
″I think there was a concern that we don’t necessarily want to be that magnet that other communities come to, but as you heard it’s open for discussion," Murphy said.
Currently, there’s only one medical marijuana dispensary in town, Hana Meds, and under this ordinance it will not be affected. It can also apply for a dual license to operate recreationally. KOLD reached out to Hana Meds CEO for comment, but did not hear back.
Allowing the dispensary to be the only recreational place in town raises concerns for marijuana advocates.
“Not allowing any other competition, it is possible that dispensary’s prices could go up,” said Mike Robinette with Southern AZ NORML. He feels it’ll create a monopoly for Hana Meds, but also drive business to other parts of town and potentially drive people to seek it illegally.
“What happens is the price can get to a point where you drive people away from the controlled market and you drive them back to what we’re trying to eliminate via legalization and Prop 207,” said Robinette.
His concerns were echoed by a few council members Monday, but overall the decision was to regulate now and look at the possibility of reducing restrictions at a later date..
“It’s still yet to be known what will happen and what will be the unintended consequences of it,” Murphy said.
The ordinance also says marijuana establishments will increase the responsibilities of law enforcement and town departments to respond to violations.
Robinette disagrees and said it’ll free up police from having to deal with non-violent marijuana arrests.