When the Town of Marana authorized a limit of two medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in its jurisdiction, there was no discussion about the rights of owners of the land on which those dispensaries sit.
During a public hearing last Tuesday, Oct. 15, the town council clarified their code after one of the two dispensary property owners brought an issue to their attention.
In the past, Marana had granted two Conditional Use Permits so medical marijuana dispensary operators could set up their businesses. The two dispensaries in Marana are Nature Med (5390 W. Ina Road) and Botanica (6205 N. Travel Center Drive). Both sell organic, home-grown cannabis along with edibles, concentrates, topicals and more.
Usually, Conditional Use Permits allow for a zoning exception, giving property owners the ability to use their land in a way that’s not permitted elsewhere in the area. According to the council’s agenda, town staff believe the language on medical marijuana dispensaries in the town code provides the Conditional Use Permit to the operator, not the land owner.
After realizing the inconsistency, town staff recommended to council two options: Change the language to specify that the land owners have the rights of the CUP, or lift the two dispensary limit, allowing the dispensary operator to move around and use the permit in different places.
Without much discussion, the town council unanimously approved a motion to change the town code.
As of Oct. 15, if a dispensary operator closes their business at a property with a CUP, the property owner has the right to lease or sell the property to another dispensary operator without the need for a new permit.
Council also decided to maintain the limit of two dispensaries permitted within the town limits of Marana. The number of permitted dispensaries will increase by one for “each Marana population increase of 50,000 over and above the official 2010 census figure for Marana,” according to town documents.
Marana’s 2010 population was 34,961, according to the United States Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder. Staff expect the population to break 50,000 in the 2020 census.
The number of permitted medical marijuana dispensaries shall be increased by one for each Marana population increase of 50,000 over and above the official 2010 census figure for Marana.