La Paz County was asked by a marijuana retailer for reconsideration of its requirement that new marijuana license holders have a 100,000-square foot canopy growing operation to grow dispensaries in unincorporated areas. At the May 16 Board of Supervisors’ meeting, David Basila of The Prime Leaf said the market is such that the cost of such a large canopy is a deterrent to investment.
The matter was listed on the Supervisors’ agenda for discussion.
Basila spent a lot of his presentation talking about his company. He is a licensed marijuana grower from the Arizona Department of Health Services in La Paz County. He stated that he worked in high-tech for 30 years and that he and his team have a wealth experience in manufacturing and business.
Basila described The Prime Leaf as family-oriented, employee-centric. He said they’ve been rated one of the best companies in Arizona. They pay a lot of state and local taxes. The Blythe Chamber of Commerce has named his dispensary in Blythe the Business of the Month.
Basila stated that he would like to open a dispensary in La Paz County. However, he said that the cost of a 100,000 square foot facility is prohibitive. Basila stated that the canopy covering a foot is deterrent. He stated that this requirement was unique in La Paz County.
This requirement was made possible by Prop 207, which made marijuana legal for adults to possess small amounts for recreational use.
“With the passage of Prop 207 making recreational medical marijuana no longer a state crime, the County needed to amend its Zoning Regulations because our Zoning Regulations only allowed for medical marijuana cultivation, but not recreational marijuana cultivation,”Ryan Dooley, La Paz County Civil Deputy County attorney, spoke to the Pioneer “The Board of Supervisors added a requirement that any new marijuana licensee that wanted to have a dispensary in the unincorporated parts of the county would be required to have a minimum 100,000 square foot canopy grow operation. The Board’s rational was that a canopy grow would create more jobs and provide more tax to the county via electricity costs than just a retail store front.”
Basila stated that Arizona’s market for canopy sales is saturated and that a canopy costing $10 million is too high.
“The market conditions aren’t conducive,”He said.
Basila said he wasn’t sure what the purpose of the canopy requirement was.
“If you don’t want a dispensary, then you’re succeeding,”He said.
Basila stated that the more successful a dispensary, the more likely they will attract a growing business to the county. As for himself, he’s more interested in retail and manufacturing.
The matter was discussed only and no action items were on the agenda. The Supervisors agreed to further investigate the matter before they took any action.