Mayor Tom Morrissey by no means in his lifetime thought he would focus on leisure marijuana, however that’s simply what the Payson City Council did final week.
Throughout the first of two public hearings, the council mentioned updating the city code so a leisure dispensary might open.
The city’s present code permits for a medical marijuana dispensary, however after it left in March, the identical house owners have plans underway to open a leisure facility.
The council offered few feedback on how they felt concerning the change Thursday, however requested the house owners and their attorneys a number of questions.
A number of residents weighed in, saying they didn’t assist such a facility.
Resident Dave Golembewski stated the city could be “promoting its soul” for gross sales tax income if it allowed a leisure dispensary to open.
Planning and Zoning Fee member Barbara Buntin stated if the council approves updating the city code they’re condoning drug use.
The Planning and Zoning Fee not too long ago break up 2-2 on updating the code, which is an unaffordable suggestion.
The proposed change permits the operation of a leisure institution and imposes affordable laws on it, which on this case are much like these on a medical marijuana dispensary, together with the required distance from a faculty, and so on.
The dispensary’s legal professional Mike Maerowitz, with Gammage and Burnham, stated the dispensary proprietor moved the medical marijuana/leisure license to the Valley in March given the bigger inhabitants base.
The identical proprietor then efficiently acquired (by a lottery) certainly one of two leisure licenses for Gila County. As a substitute of shifting it to a different neighborhood within the county, the proprietor “very a lot” desires to open a dispensary in Payson. Plans embrace opening on the former location of Untamed Herbs on Tonto Avenue and probably transfer the dispensary to 104 E. Freeway 260, the previous location of a credit score union subsequent to Taco Bell on the nook of State Route 87 and 260.
Maerowitz stated they estimate a Payson leisure marijuana dispensary would generate between $10 million and $15 million in gross sales yearly. With the city’s gross sales tax fee at 2.88%, the city might see between $300,000-$400,000 in gross sales tax income.
Golembewski stated he isn’t against medical marijuana, however believes a leisure dispensary would result in extra teenagers smoking as they might simply purchase it from somebody 21 and older. He stated he doesn’t need to go to the park and scent marijuana.
Buntin stated because the grandmother of 4 adopted youngsters, all of whose organic mother and father have been drug addicts, she is towards drug use, together with marijuana.
She stated there are penalties to marijuana because it typically results in customers attempting more durable medication. “There may be collateral injury,” she stated. “Sure, it’s examined and controlled, however it’s nonetheless marijuana.”
Legal professional Lindsay Schube, additionally with Gammage and Burnham, stated her shoppers would under no circumstances promote unlawful drug use. She stated all merchandise bought could be extremely regulated and examined.
Councilor Suzy Tubbs-Avakian requested what had occurred to the staff of Untamed Herbs after it closed. Ronnie Kassab with JARS Hashish stated most are nonetheless working on the facility, doing manufacturing work. He stated they might doubtless rent extra assist as soon as the leisure dispensary opens.
The council is tentatively scheduled to debate the merchandise once more throughout a second public listening to Aug. 12.