At the Jan. 12 meeting of the Globe City Council, there was much discussion about whether the City
wants to have a recreational and/or medical marijuana dispensary and, if so, how the city ordinances
should be drafted to accommodate such businesses.
In November, by a vote of 60 percent to 40 percent, Arizona voters passes Prop 207, the Smart and Safe
Arizona Act, which legalizes and regulates recreational marijuana in the state for adults 21 years and
older. The statewide measure, which becomes effective April 5, is different from the Arizona Medical
Marijuana Act, passed into law by voters in 2010.
Linda Oddonetto, Globe economic development director told the Council that interest has already been
high and that this has the potential for positive economic impact for the community, mainly because
there is a 16 percent excise tax (similar to alcohol and tobacco) that will be imposed on recreational
marijuana sold at state-licensed dispensaries. (That tax is used to help fund various state agencies and
community programs, etc.)
Since October, Oddonetto said they had received 63 calls from interested parties about the conditional
use permit (CUP) and what the city code is regarding medical dispensaries. “To date, we have issued
eight tentative zoning verification letters and we have more to issue, depending on the outcome of this
discussion tonight. In the last two weeks we have heard again from about 30 of those interested
Dana Burkhardt, acting zoning administrator for the City of Globe and an outside community
development consultant, presented a PowerPoint that essentially gave the Council four options to
consider relative to dispensaries: regulate recreational use in the same fashion as the medical use –
through a CUP process; to not regulate it at all, instead letting state statutes dictate all regulation; only
allow as a dual use with a medical CUP; or prohibit recreational facilities altogether.
Most communities Burkhardt researched are allowing a dispensary only in a dual-use capacity with a
medical CUP. Though that’s not the case in Globe right now, he said he could see a situation in the
future where one or two dual-purpose dispensaries would be of benefit to the community. He added
that the state is “taking a very light touch,” to the regulations overall, thereby allowing municipalities to
put forth their own local legislation.
City manager Paul Jepson added that even if they develop an ordinance now, it could always be
modified if the need arose in the future or as they gleaned more from state regulations.
They also discussed the possibility of allowing a testing facility in the city. Councilman Fernando Shipley
said he has no trouble with anything related to a testing facility or a dispensary. “We have a lot of
people in the community that have medical cards and now it’s going to be legal for adults to consume it,
so it doesn’t make sense that we would chase it out and all of those tax dollars out of our community.
The world’s changing and we just need to grow up.”
Councilman Freddy Rios agreed that they should be less restrictive than more so, at least in the
beginning, adding that there will be non-marijuana supporters and marijuana supporters. “But with 16
percent tax, it’s a revenue generator, no doubt. So, I would say that we ask Dana to bring forth
something that’s lucrative to these businesses that Linda’s been working with and then, as it rolls out
and as the legislature starts nailing down regulations and things like that, we have the ability to modify.”
As of the council meeting date, Oddonetto said there were nine buildings in the Globe Miami area that
were in escrow and three that had contingent lease agreements. “What I’m hearing from the Realtors as
the prospective operators are asking for an extension on these agreements, because if they’re not
successful in achieving a license through the lottery process, then they would like to still hold onto that
property in the chance that they may be successful in obtaining a social equity license. All of the owners
that have (approached the state) have agreed to these terms.”
“Some of the feedback that we’ve heard from these potential operators that actually do operate
medical dispensaries in the state of Arizona, is that they project (in our area and county, based on our
population, demographics) and proximity to urban areas and other medical and potentially recreational
dispensaries, is they anticipate revenue around $3 million a year,” said Oddonetto. “So that’s about
$70,000 in tax revenue to the City of Globe.”
Some councilors had questions about how the police might be impacted by such businesses, or what
they could expect from the PD. Chief Dale Walters said the council could expect some changes as to how
they do things since marijuana use will be moving to a legal activity. He suggested taking a measured
approach. “The decisions we make now need to be thought-through so they don’t (negatively) impact us
later,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think it will be that big of an adjustment. He did express concerns
about how they establish hours of operation and location of dispensaries.
Jepson’s office will put together a draft ordinance to bring forward at a future meeting for consideration
and approval. The Council stated they would like to see the City keep the same kinds of CUP process for
recreational use facilities as the do for medical use. The City will also bring forward appropriate zoning
requirements, one of which would be maintaining a specific distance from schools, daycares, and
residential zoning districts. “We’re so dense and we have so many churches and so many locations,
especially downtown, and churches only operate a limited amount of the time (that it might be harder
to set forth a distance requirement there),” explained Jepson, adding that it would preclude the entire
downtown area if they tried to keep facilities 500 or so feet away from any church.
Jepson also stated that he believes the CUP process “makes for good neighbors” and helps to keep one
from driving the other one crazy.
There was one other item of particular interest on the Council agenda, having to do with a potential
violation by Councilwoman Charlene Giles allegedly violating the Arizona Open Meetings laws. The City
had hired an outside firm to investigate this allegation as it would be a conflict of interest for the city
attorney to do so. Tina Vannucci with Fitzgibbons Law Office said they investigated the potential Open
Meetings laws violation and a potential violation of the City’s Code of Ethics by Giles. She was also asked
to analyze potential employment claims related to those actions.
The specific allegation included an inappropriate disclosure of confidential information in executive
session related to a complaint made by a city employee regarding Councilwoman Giles. “Based on my
investigation, I believe legal sufficiency does exist regarding violation of the Code, so our next step
would be appointment of a hearing officer.”
She added, however, that over the preceding weekend, she and the Globe city attorney had received
constructive communication from Daisy Flores, an attorney representing Giles. “Because of this
communication, at this time I would recommend that you table this matter to give us a couple weeks to
work together to see if we can come to a resolution which may alleviate the need for a hearing officer
altogether.” The council agreed to table the issue and Vannucci will report back to council at their next
meeting, potentially in executive session.
Cheryl Hentz is a freelance journalist with nearly 40 years in both print and broadcast journalism. She is a Cheesehead from Wisconsin and getting to know the Globe Miami area and its people through her freelance work with the Globe Miami Times. Someday soon, she hopes to settle in AZ for her semi-retirement years. In her free time, she volunteers with several dog rescue groups, shelters, and animal welfare organizations.