The Flagstaff City Council on Tuesday night removed a proposed zoning restriction on medical marijuana dispensaries inside the city limits that had capped the size at 3,000 square feet. With the size of dispensaries now unlimited, it is expected that most of the marijuana sold at the shops will be grown on site, rather than at remote locations.
Council member Art Babbott said he agreed with a recommendation by the Flagstaff Police Department to have the retail side of a dispensary co-locate with growing operations, reports Joe Ferguson at the Arizona Daily Sun
Police officials said they believe co-location will make the local medical marijuana industry safer by reducing the number of locations and removing the need for large cannabis deliveries to replenish stock at dispensaries.
David Grandon, a former local art gallery owner, said earlier this week he wanted the city to increase the maximum size for dispensaries to accommodate other therapeutic services, such as chiropractors and massage therapists.
At least two medical marijuana dispensaries are expected to open in Flagstaff this year.
The council, while lifting the cap on dispensary size, also eliminated a zoning option that would have allowed pot shops to open in smaller commercial areas that are often a mix of businesses and residential areas. The defeated recommendation had been designed to allow a dispensary to open near Flagstaff Medical Center.
The council also did not support a recommendation by Mayor Sara Presler to require home medical marijuana caregivers to register with the city when delivering cannabis to shut-in patients.
Presler claimed she wanted caregiver registration “for legal reasons,” noting that all attorneys have to register with the city.
Flagstaff will be required to establish dispensary zoning rules before the Arizona’s medical marijuana law takes effect in April.