Marijuana and its legalization and decriminalization has been in the news a lot lately, as more and more states try to move toward these measures. Medical marijuana is another “hot topic” in the present day, especially in the city of Tucson. The Arizona city is considering making big changes to is current medical marijuana policy and is meeting to discuss these changes and their implications in the very near future.
Of course, in order to understand the changes that the city is thinking of making, one first has to understand Tucson’s long history with medical marijuana policies and its current policies. Tucson’s main involvement with medical marijuana began four years ago when the city passed laws related to and accepting of medical marijuana use. However, these were laws that it planned, from the start, to review and potentially change at a later date. And apparently, that “later date” is fast approaching for the city.
Many speculate that the reason Tucson is considering changes is because it is missing out on sales-tax related income that it could be receiving if its laws surrounding medical marijuana usage weren’t quite so strict. It has seen, many say, the large incomes from medical marijuana taxes enjoyed by Phoenix and other, less strict Arizona cities and wants to get in on those profits.
The reason that so many people suspect that money is the motivation behind Tucson’s potential “change of heart” is the fact that all of the changes it is proposing are more, not less, relaxed and are more in line with the policies of other cities that are bringing in more money. When one looks at it that way, it’s hard not to see money as the motivating factor behind Tucson’s “up in the air” status when it comes to medical marijuana laws.
One law that Tucson may change in the near future is how closely medical marijuana dispensaries can be located to churches and schools. Under the present laws, all dispensaries have to be located more than 1000 feet away from all churches and schools, but that distance may soon be cut in half to a mere 500 feet.
Tucson is also considering allowing open air cultivation of marijuana. However, it would still require open air growers to lock up all crops and keep them locked and secured at all times. Still, though, these newly proposed laws that the city will discuss are a far cry from the stringent rules and regulations that the city has upheld for the past few years.
In spite of its recent push toward more leniency, Tucson still plans to have no more than ten dispensaries in the city limits. Feelings on this and other potential law changes are widely divided. Those who are against the relaxed laws feel like the city is heading down a slippery slope while others see it as a positive thing- a way to build up the city economically. Everyone, though, will just have to wait and see what gets decided in the coming days.