Rose Law Group attorney Dan Gauthier talks to Daily Star about Pima County’s new marijuana zoning rules

By Edward Celaya | Arizona Daily Star

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve new zoning regulations that will allow more commercial and industrial areas be open to potential marijuana dispensaries and cultivation/production sites.

It also voted to retain — against Planning and Zoning staff advice — an additional public hearing aspect to the process known as a Type III conditional use permit, or CUP.

“Obviously we were a proponent of not having the hearing,” said Chris Poirier, Pima County Development Services deputy director. “I believe they [the board of supervisors] still felt there was value for the neighborhood to weigh in on these individually… but the good news is, the code they approved yesterday is significantly more responsive and better than the current code was.”

Some industry insiders and social equity licensees see the additional hearing process as unneeded, unnecessary and picking on “the little guy.”

“If you look at this from a public policy perspective, it’s a very dangerous precedent for all businesses,” said Demitri Downing, founder of the Marijuana Trade Industry Association of Arizona, or MITA. “And they have picked on the weakest businesses out there, social equity business and license holders.”

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A development like this, freeing up more eligible real estate in urban parts of Pima County, is important for licensees who are looking to buy, or more likely lease, property for a brick-and-mortar retail location, said (Rose Law Group Attorney) Dan Gauthier, Chief Legal Officer for Zoned Properties, a cannabis-centric real estate firm.

For companies like his, this sort of move by the county could spur the opportunity to buy and potentially lease space to new social equity licensees.

“This is a potential for them to go and start that process, or at least agree to be an advocate and potentially contribute funds to the social equity licensee to help get the entitlements needed.”

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