Text amendment seeks to change how marijuana grows are handled by Graham County

Property in Geronimo owned by Pamela Brooks, who is asking Graham County to change how marijuana growing is authorized. Brooks is asking to change county code to allow marijuana growing with a conditional use permit rather than re-zoning. - Contributed Image

SAFFORD — Graham County’s Planning and Zoning Commission is being asked to take the first step in changing the county’s zoning codes when it comes to growing marijuana.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the commission will hear the request from Carolyn Oberholtzer on behalf of Pamela Brooks, who owns property in Geronimo.

The request is to remove marijuana growth from the mixed use industrial zone (MX) and, instead, place it in the Agriculture Zone (A) with conditions applied or under a conditional use permit.

The change would modify the definition of enclosed area under marijuana regulations, limiting the property on which an enclosed grow operates to no more than 300 acres, and the enclosed area used for growing not to exceed 50 percent of that acreage.

It would also mandate that hoop houses, high houses, cold frames and other portable and semi-portable structures do not qualify as an enclosed structure.

The change calls to modify the distance requirements between residentially-zoned property and marijuana grows, from the exterior wall of the enclosed grow to the lot line of the protected area.

The proposed text amendment would also modify the operating hours for retail marijuana establishments, to opening no earlier than 8 a.m. and closing no later than 8 p.m.

The Graham County Planning and Zoning Commission meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Graham County General Services Building in Safford.