A marijuana retailer has asked La Paz County to reconsider its requirement that any new marijuana license holder would need to have a 100,000 square-foot canopy growing operation for a new dispensary in unincorporated areas of the county. 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 much of his presentation speaking about his company. He holds one of the marijuana licenses from the Arizona Department of Health Services for La Paz County. He said he was in high tech for 30 years, and he and his team have a wealth of experience in business and manufacturing.
Basila described his company, The Prime Leaf, as family-oriented and employee-centric. He said they’ve been rated one of the best companies in Arizona. They pay a lot in state and local taxes. His dispensary in Blythe, Calif., has been named the Blythe Business of the Month by the Blythe Chamber of Commerce.
As for La Paz County, Basila said he wants to establish a dispensary here, but said the cost of a 100,000 sq. foot canopy is a deterrent. He said this requirement was unique to La Paz County.
The requirement came about following the passage of Prop 207, which made it legal for adults to possess small amounts of marijuana 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,” La Paz County Civil Deputy County Attorney Ryan Dooley told 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 said the market in Arizona is saturated, and the $10 million cost of such a canopy is simply not worth the expense in the current market.
“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.
The more successful a dispensary is, the more likely they are to attract a growing operation to the county, Basila said. As for himself, he’s more interested in retail and manufacturing.
The matter was for discussion only, with no action item on the agenda. The Supervisors agreed they needed to look at this matter further before they planned on taking any action.