Cochise County approves medical marijuana expansion

Cochise County approves medical marijuana expansion

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Cochise county will be creating 50 new jobs thanks to one the state’s largest wholesalers of medical marijuana.

The Phoenix-based Pharmacy will be planting 87,000 square feet of cannabis plants at a 99-acre property on 8251 N. Ingram Lane, Willcox.

The company has already invested more than $15 million at nearby West Greenhouse Drive, where it has 350,000 square feet of greenhouse and industrial space, employing around 150 people.

At a Jan. 9th meeting, the Cochise County Planning & Zoning Commission approved a special use modification, which will allow The Pharmacy to modify its original plans to utilize a greenhouse at Ingram Lane. It will now grow the plants outdoors.

In addition, the business will convert an existing home into an office, and re-purpose a garage for equipment storage. No product will be stored at the property.

Development Services staff recommended approval of the application because it was in keeping with the rural agricultural nature of the area, and the economic development opportunities. The company will initially employ 8 to 10 people, with a potential for 50 new jobs when the property is fully developed.

The County received eight letters supporting the application, and four letters against. Nearby neighbors say they are concerned about odor, security, light pollution, and potential impacts on wildlife.

Craig Boudle, The Pharmacy’s Director of Operations, said the aroma from the plants would be strongest during flowering - about two weeks, two times a year – but prevailing winds would help mitigate odor issues. Infrared cameras will monitor the site 24/7, and the proposed lighting will account for about seven percent of what is allowable under the County’s light pollution code, he added.

County planner Robert Kirschmann said The Pharmacy would need to contact the relevant state and federal agencies with regards to any threats to endangered species before construction begins.

The application for a special use modification was approved by a majority 5 to 2 vote. Local residents have 15 days to appeal the decision and have the matter decided by the Board of Supervisors.

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