Legalized Pot Medical

FILE - This Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 file photo shows the MedMen marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles. When U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions green-lighted federal prosecutors to pursue violators of federal marijuana laws, not only states that legalized recreational pot are at risk of a crackdown, but so is most of the rest of America. All but four states allow some form of medical marijuana, even Sessions' home state of Alabama. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

ELOY — While many other cities have been quick to ban or severely limit the use of recreational marijuana, the city of Eloy is taking a different approach.

Following a City Council work session last month, planning manager Jerry Stabley presented the council with the changes that were made to the general regulations concerning medical and recreational marijuana establishments.

One of the changes includes allowing a business owner to apply for a permit in the neighborhood commercial district, which is what portions of Frontier Street are zoned as.

Another change is that marijuana establishments could not be located within 1,320 feet of schools, public parks, public community centers or residentially zoned property.

A 100-foot distance is proposed for public parks, public community centers and most schools. The exception is that the 1,320-foot distance remain for high schools.

The proposed distances now include 25 feet from building to building, in a residential zoned property, allowing a business to open up on Main Street.

Council member Georges Reuter did not agree with the distance set up for the schools stating that there is no proof that the distance from the school make it safer.

“I don’t like that there are young kids that can be 100 feet from a marijuana dispensary and the high school kids a quarter mile,” Reuter said. “I think as long as a marijuana dispensary does not have a view on the high school, if it’s not one of the adjoining streets that has direct access to it, I’d rather see that 100 feet or something. There is no back story to the 1,320 feet, it’s just another administrative number just to make it hard.”

Council member Jose Garcia expressed his concern that the regulations do not specify any distance between a marijuana establishment and a bar.

“I don’t know if we want that within 25 feet from a bar,” Garcia said. “That might make it a little too tempting to people once they’ve been drinking.”

Reuter commented that he did not see a reason to separate the two businesses because both marijuana and alcohol are legal substances.

Regulations previously stated that smoking marijuana was not allowed in a public place or open space; the revision now also includes regulations for the consumption of marijuana including Gummies or lollipops.

The proposed penalty is that any person found guilty of violating any provisions of the code will be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine that does not exceed $2,500 or can be sent to jail for a period that does not exceed six months or a both a fine and jail sentence.

Stabley added that the number of dispensaries allowed in a city depend on the number of pharmacies that are also located in the city.

“Other communities are not jumping into the this and they’re waiting to see which way this whole thing goes,” council member Dan Synder said. “I get the feeling that we’re rushing into this a little bit. I don’t

Following last week’s work session where the council discussed which council members would be appointed to the various boards and commission.

City staff is still working on restructuring the Downton Advisory Commission, Historic Preservation Committee and the Leisure Services Advisory Board.

“Jon Vlaming and I will work on the purpose and composition of the Downtown Advisory Commission,” City Manager Harvey Krauss said. “We’ll combine that probably with the Historic Preservation Committee, I think that’s what the council decided. We’ll reconstitute the purpose of the Leisure Services Advisory Board, most of the communities call it parks and rec and we’ll also incorporate the library board into that commission.”

Krauss told the council that it would likely take about a month for staff to make the adjustments to the for the groups that are being restructured.

The council also approved the following appointments:

  • Board of Adjustment: Andrew Rodriguez
  • Board of Appeals – Jose Garcia
  • Cemetery Board – Micah Powell, Sylvia Guanajuato Rodriguez and Andrew Rodriguez
  • Planning and Zoning Commission – Sara Curtis
  • Municipal Airport Advisory Board – Georges Reuter
  • Infrastructure Subcommittee – Micah Powell, Andrew Rodriguez and Dan Snyder
  • Pension Board – Micah Powell
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Maria Vasquez is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. She can be reached at mvasquez@pinalcentral.com.