Tucson Cannabis Cultivation Center Causes Concern
George Roop of Tucson, Arizona has a dream of opening one of the largest complexes for growing marijuana in 2019. A Tucson native, having graduated from Canyon del Oro High School in 2000, Roop began building a marijuana cultivation facility on 16 acres of industrial-use land located on the southeastern side of Tucson.
Currently under construction at Rita Ranch, the Tucson Cannabis Campus is slated to take up a whopping 440,000 square feet of floor space. Upon its scheduled completion, the Tucson Cannabis Campus will be the most spacious growing facility in the state of Arizona. As you might have guessed, it will also be one of the most spacious in the United States.
Unless another major grow facility is completed by the end of 2019, George Roop’s co-creation-in-progress will be the second-largest such building in the United States.
Located at 8000 South Rita Road, Phase 1 of the Tucson Cannabis Campus will harbor roughly 40,000 square feet of all-indoor marijuana grow space. About 50 jobs will be created by Phase 1 of the project.
Phase 2 of the Tucson Cannabis Campus will open up the remaining 400,000 square feet of growing space. It’s currently not clear when Phase 2 of the medical marijuana grow operation will be complete, though construction of the expansion is slated to be finished within the next few years. Phase 2 will also feature an outdoor cultivation space of 33,000 square feet. To keep unwanted individuals and groups out, the grow area will be bordered by a 10-foot-tall, thick concrete wall.
Over 100 jobs could be added by Phase 2, says Mr. Roop.
Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 have been approved by Tucson’s board of city planners.
Even though its medical use is legalized, marijuana is still an expensive cash crop
The Tucson Cannabis Campus will feature tall, razor-wire fences around its perimeter. Further, armed-and-loaded guards will constantly patrol the perimeter of the facility, virtually eliminating the potential of robberies.
As one might imagine, the facility will also feature a state-of-the-art network of high-quality cameras to monitor employees on the job. The Arizona Department of Health Services, the state-wide health department, will have access to a feed of every camera inside and outside the Tucson Cannabis Campus around the clock.
We all know how stinky cannabis is – so does the city of Tucson
Tucson’s City Hall will require Roop and company to create and submit an odor control plan before the Tucson Cannabis Campus can grow a single plant or have any employees on location. Daniel Bursuck, the lead planner of Tucson’s planning committee, indicated that most cannabis cultivators keep their plants indoors once they near maturity. Live cannabis plants grow smellier as they become more mature.
However, the massive amount of cannabis at the facility will stink up surrounding cities if a proper odor control system isn’t implemented. That’s right – the smell will spread miles upon miles from the facility, even if every plant if kept indoors.
Complaints rolled in after news of the Tucson Cannabis Campus became the talk of the town
Residents throughout Rita Ranch have expressed concerns to city officials that the city of Tucson should have notified them that a major grow facility was being constructed in Rita Ranch. However, local politicians were not legally required to inform nearby residents because the 16-acre lot had already been zoned to be compliant to state-level rules and regulations related to growing marijuana.
One resident, David Schmutz, lives no more than a half-mile from the construction site. A resident of Rita Ranch for 22 years and counting, Schmutz acknowledged that the only practical option available for people who aren’t comfortable living so close to the facility was to move.
Mr. Bursuck noted that the vast majority of cannabis cultivators and Tucson dispensary owners have been upstanding neighbors. He further stated that nearby residents’ concerns are likely exaggerated and not based on fact, as many growers live and operate full-fledged gardens within earshot of high-density residential areas without neighbors even being aware that any grow operations are nearby.
Understanding cannabis laws and regulations in Arizona
The state of Arizona first legalized the medical use of cannabis in 2010 with Proposition 203, barely securing a plurality vote with just 50.1 percent of participating Arizona citizens siding in favor of legalizing the medical use of the psychoactive drug.
In 2016, Proposition 205, the first push for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana throughout the state, narrowly failed with 48.7 percent of votes cast siding with the legalization of recreational-use cannabis.
Since 2010, dispensaries have flooded the state to satisfy a growing medical demand for high-quality, legal cannabis. Arizona residents who possess an active medical marijuana license can keep up to 2.5 ounces on them at once. No more than 2.5 ounces can legally be consumed every two weeks. Patients can also grow a maximum of 12 plants on their personal property, though this is only allowed if no dispensaries are located within a 25-mile radius of their residences.
Caregivers can serve a maximum of five patients at once and are able to keep 60 living plants at a time.