Arizona’s second-largest county in August officially changed its zoning rules to allow and encourage recreational cannabis businesses to open.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors on August 3 voted 3-2 to update the county’s zoning regulations on marijuana businesses. The regulations were written in 2010 after medical legalization and only allowed for medical marijuana businesses, despite Arizona voters in 2020 approving recreational sales.
According to the ordinance, only one dispensary has successfully navigated Pima County’s regulations to open, then relocated closer to Phoenix shortly after. The changes apply only to unincorporated areas of Pima County, which has a population of about 400,000. The county also contains Tucson, the state’s second-largest city, which does allow medical and recreational sales and has a “robust” industry, according to the ordinance.
The new regulations and development standards align with the city of Tucson’s and will reportedly allow dispensaries to be larger than before, be located in more areas of the county — including all commercial and industrial zones — and will allow them to be closer to some restricted areas, such as schools, than previously.
The board also approved new requirements for the application process, including a $2,280 fee, a four-month waiting period and a requirement of two public hearings.
— Brian Beckley