Tempe Wants Your Thoughts on How to Regulate Marijuana in the City

Tempe Wants Your Thoughts on How to Regulate Marijuana in the City
City of Tempe
click to enlarge CITY OF TEMPE
City of Tempe

Residents of the state of Arizona approved the legalization of recreational marijuana in November. But that doesn’t mean every city and town has to allow it to be sold inside its limits.

Since the November vote, several municipalities in the Valley — Gilbert, Chandler, and Mesa — have moved to pass ordinances that would stifle the sale of recreational pot.

In many municipalities, these ordinances wouldn’t actually ban the sale of recreational marijuana, because medical marijuana dispensaries already operating there will soon become “dual licensees,” meaning they will be permitted to sell medical pot to cardholders and recreational pot to everybody else.

By outlawing new recreational retailers, many of these ordinances will, in effect, eliminate competition for the existing dispensaries — which some would argue is the real point of the ordinances.

The city of Tempe is currently in the process of figuring out how it wants to handle the situation, with the goal of producing a proposed draft ordinance sometime in January. Officials are seeking input from residents about what they’d like to see in a post-Prop 207 marijuana ordinance.

There are already rules and requirements for the five medical marijuana operations and six cultivation facilities in Tempe, and the city wants to know specifically three things.

1. Are the current separation requirements (how far a dispensary has to be from a church, school, park, etc.) for medical dispensaries appropriate for recreational shops, too?

2. Should the city allow more dispensaries and cultivation facilities to open?

3. Where should testing facilities be allowed to set up in the city?

You can toss in your two cents by taking Tempe's survey here. The deadline is the end of the day on December 21. You can also provide additional comments by emailing

The first public hearing on the draft regulations is scheduled for January 12. 
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
David Hudnall is editor in chief of Phoenix New Times. He previously served as editor of The Pitch in Kansas City.
Contact: David Hudnall