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Globe City Council Passes Marijuana Facility Ordinance

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Globe City Council Passes Marijuana Facility Ordinance

The City of Globe has a new zoning ordinance on the books for marijuana facilities. The ordinance allows up to four dispensaries – two medical and two recreational – as well as testing and cultivation facilities.

The dispensaries and facilities can be located in zoning districts C-2 and C-3, which cover the business districts of Globe, Midland City and Miami Gardens, or in the industrial district. 

The City intends that medical and recreational dispensaries would be combined in a single dual-use location, so that in effect only two dispensary locations would exist. Eventually, the council expects these locations to become dual-licensed facilities, at which point the number of permitted facilities would be reduced to two.

No marijuana facilities will be permitted within 500 feet of K-12 schools, 250 feet of most residential-zoned lots, 100 feet of churches, or within one-half mile of another marjiuana facility.

Applicants will be required to obtain conditional use permits and observe regulations on hours and signage.

Currently, the City prohibits deliveries of recreational marijuana.

The Globe City Council passed the new ordinance at its regular meeting on February 23. Prior to the meeting, the council publicized the upcoming vote in newspaper advertisements and a notice printed at the top of January water bills, according to zoning administrator Dana Burkhardt.

Mayor Al Gameros said that the City also reached out through radio spots, social media posts and a presentation at the meeting of the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation, with stakeholders from the mines, schools, and local hospital in attendance. 

Gameros noted that City representatives fielded many questions during that presentation but that no negative comments had been received. 

Mayor Gameros said, “If it doesn’t come here, it’s going to go somewhere else. If we have it in our community, we can control it.”

According to Burkhardt, the City received no responses to its public outreach efforts on the issue. However, Councilman Jesse Latham of District 3 said he had received calls from some constituents who felt approval of the ordinance was being rushed.

Globe City Attorney Bill Sims pointed out that voters approved the marijuana initiative last fall, and the state is already issuing licenses. Sims said, “You can delay this, but if you delay it and (an applicant) gets a license, then they’ll have the right to put their establishment wherever they like because you won’t have a zoning ordinance in place.”

District 3 resident Jeff Dalton, who works in the Gila County attorney’s office, expressed concern about the potential number of dispensaries, particularly for recreational use, and about the potential of children obtaining marijuana. He also expressed concern that the ordinance could be viewed as encouragement of marijuana use, and that use could increase as a result of the presence of marijuana facilities in the city. Dalton said, “In the past, we used to prosecute this. Now we embrace it and we want it because we want the tax money. To me, that’s a bad message.”

Alfred Hermes, chief science officer at a Payson-based company that is applying for a license to operate a dispensary on Broad Street, said research has shown cannabis is not the gateway drug to methamphetamine use that it was once believed, and that alcohol poses more risk than marijuana as a gateway drug. 

Hermes said, “There are stores in every city and every community that sell alcohol. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re putting bottles in children’s hands to drink. The same type of responsibility can be done with medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.”

Scott Shumway voiced concerns that the full impact of the new ordinance might not be clear for years to come. Shumway said he felt more time should have been taken to allow the community to discuss the issue.

Historic Preservation District Design Guidelines Update

The Council also heard an update on the process of revising the City’s historic preservation district design guidelines, a process that will continue over the next few months.

In developing the new guidelines, the City Council will receive recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Commission, with input from the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee and the Arts Advisory Committee. Burkhardt said the city has included major stakeholders in meetings and discussions that have already taken place.

The City presented draft guidelines during a public meeting last December and will hold at least one more public meeting to allow the public to review and comment on later drafts. 

Members of the public can weigh in on the subject by attending a meeting or by contacting Burkhardt directly. They can also submit comments to the City Council or City Manager Paul Jepsen. Emails can be sent to the Council at: council@globeaz.gov.

Burkhardt said he expected the City Council to receive a final draft of the guidelines in April.

Burkhardt said the City could qualify for state and federal funding and specialized assistance for its preservation program in the historic district. The current historic preservation district design guidelines were adopted in 1987.

 

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