The Tucson City Council voted to remove zoning restrictions on medical marijuana cultivation centers. Council members and advocates said the change will greatly benefit the city’s economy.
Vicky Puchi-Saavedra, a Tucson dispensary owner, said the decision will help generate new marijuana industry jobs and improve revenue for the city because cultivation facilities can now be bigger than the previous 3,000 square-feet limit. Many Tucson dispensaries have been purchasing medical marijuana from Phoenix dispensaries, where there are no zoning restrictions, in order to keep up with demand. These Tucson dispensaries were nearly paying retail price, making it impossible to lower costs for their customers.
“It is like trickle down economics. You don’t just hire a grower, you hire bookkeepers, you hire warehouse managers…” said Puchi-Saavedra. “Aside from the sales tax we are paying, city sales tax, so we are helping the city instead of moving our warehouse out of Tucson, back into Phoenix.”
Councilwoman Karin Uhlich stated that Tucson area patients were suffering the consequences of strict marijuana cultivation regulations.
“Most of the product was being cultivated in Maricopa County and in the Phoenix area, which added cost to patients in our area,” stated Uhlich. “And so we are really monitoring what is happening across the state as the law gets implemented and recognizing that being overly restrictive simply ads cost to patients in Tucson.”