A Casa Grande, Ariz. dairy company's business is going to pot.
The Pinal County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 this week to permit Sidewinder Dairy to grow medical marijuana in an enclosed 9,650-square-foot facility. Planning and zoning officials recommended the indoor grow rather than the initially proposed outdoor operation, which garnered opposition from people concerned about access for children and criminals.
"We, staff and (the board) have listened to the residents, and we're going to propose this indoor grow for one year," said Jordan Rose, an attorney representing Sidewinder Dairy.
Security measures, including panic buttons and high-resolution video recording, will be in place at the facility, Rose said. A key card will be required for entry.
The permit is subject to review in a year.
Marijuana grown at the site is slated to go to a dispensary in Mesa, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported. Under state law, Pinal County medical marijuana dispensaries must contract with one grow facility but all Pinal County ones are booked. However, Pinal County will still receive some of the sales tax revenues.
Sharon Boyd, of anti-substance abuse group Coolidge Youth Coalition, was among those who pushed county supervisors to deny the permit.
"By increasing the availability of marijuana to our youth . the risks are steadily going up for our kids," she said.
Dennis Dugan, whose family owns the dairy company, said he was offended by the idea his facility would try to entice children with marijuana.
"If at any time I thought medical marijuana was going to harm those kids, I wouldn't be for this project," he said. "This is medical marijuana — to help people in need and in pain."
Supervisor Todd House, a Republican from Apache Junction, voted for the permit and said the county could face lawsuits otherwise since medical marijuana is legal in Arizona.
"We have to deal with the law, and the law is very clear on this," House said. "I applaud the Dugans and the county for coming together and making something happen that's going to work for the Dugan family and make this go forward."