Payson may soon be a new haven for medical marijuana patients looking to cultivate their own supply.
Payson's sole dispensary, Uncle Herb's, is considering a move closer to Phoenix next year to increase profits, the Payson Roundup reports.
Arizona politicians have worked hard to make sure that patients and caregivers live within 25 miles of a dispensary, limiting the number of patients who can grow.
Earlier this year, state Rep. Vince Leach, R-Saddlebrook, even tried to pass a law making it illegal for rural dispensaries to relocate to the cities. (Once again, the only business for which Republicans aren't pro-business is the marijuana business.) Now it looks like Leach's nightmare is about to become a reality.
With Uncle Herb's gone, Payson patients would be able to grow to their hearts content—that is, so long as it's under the 2.5-ounce, 12-plant limit.
Currently, only 1,626 patients (or 1.16 percent of marijuana patients in Arizona) are allowed to grow marijuana. Opening up Payson will add a few hundred patients to that roll, increasing the number of cultivators by around 25 percent.
Turns out the town of Payson is also against the idea of allowing its patients to grow marijuana, but there's nothing they can do to make Uncle Herb's stay.
While the town hopes to attract another dispensary, Uncle Herb's owner Andrew Provencio thought that'd be a difficult task.
Provencio said he sells about $200,000 worth of marijuana a month, and expects to get around $1 million in the city. Can you blame him?
But town staff are reportedly concerned about the burden this would place on police who would have to enforce proper grow conditions, such as making sure marijuana is grown indoors, in a locked facility away from public view.
Though the hoops aren't too small to hop through, it could be a difficult task for Payson police to make sure the owner of every marijuana plant they see has cultivation certification.
For the patients of Payson, though, growing marijuana is just so much better. Aside from the obvious savings from growing instead of buying, who doesn't want to test out their green thumb on a plant or two?
That gets us to another issue. If anything makes it more obvious that Arizona's marijuana laws weren't crafted by anyone who's ever seen, let alone smoked, marijuana before, it's the 2.5-ounce limit. A single plant typically produces more than 2.5 ounces.
Though the exact amount varies widely on variables such as how much light the plant gets and the type of soil it's planted in, a typical indoor plant could easily produce as much as 5 ounces.
So while the law's intent is clear, once again, the execution just doesn't match up. Payson's gardening gurus will have to resist the urge to see how big and beautiful they can get their plant to grow.
Uncle Herb's move also indicates a potential trend. State law also requires dispensaries to stay put for three years. Though the first dispensaries got their licenses in 2012, with a couple years to set up, we're a little more than three years out from the first dispensaries in Arizona.
That means more rural dispensaries could start making the shift to cities, forcing the state to re-examine growing laws. But for now, Uncle Herb's is the first.