Council adopts recreational marijuana regulations

Adam Curtis Public Affairs Press Releases

The Sierra Vista City Council voted 5-2 to approve code amendments laying out local rules for recreational marijuana establishments and limits on what can be done with recreational marijuana while on City property at its meeting on Thursday.

Proposition 207, which was passed by Arizona voters in November, allows for the adult use of recreational marijuana within the state. The new law grants local municipalities discretion on whether to allow recreational marijuana establishments to operate within the city and on what zoning regulations to put in place, providing they are not more restrictive than those associated with medical marijuana establishments.

The Planning and Zoning Commission considered the proposed code amendments on Jan. 25 and voted unanimously to recommend their approval with some revisions. The commission recommended the buffer of 500 feet be reduced to 300 feet between a recreational marijuana establishment and: a school or place of worship (located outside the general commercial zoning district), a public park, another marijuana establishment, or public community center. They recommended maintaining the 500-foot buffer between recreational marijuana establishments and residential areas.

The amendments adopted on Thursday were approved with the recommended revisions from the Planning and Zoning Commission. The reduced buffer zone will also apply to medical marijuana establishments. In addition to the zoning provisions, the amendments prohibit the smoking, consumption, selling, distributing, storing, cultivating, manufacturing, producing, or displaying of marijuana on City-owned property.

Mayor Rick Mueller and Council Member Gregory Johnson cast the two votes against the proposed amendments, commenting that they support outright prohibition of recreational marijuana establishments in Sierra Vista. Following final action by the City Council on Thursday, the amendments will take effect in 30 days.

In other business:

  • The City Council voted unanimously to deny a text amendment proposed by a member of the public, which sought to permit up to 30 percent of the total lots in manufactured home subdivisions to have recreational vehicles as a primary use.
  • The City Council unanimously approved the acceptance of $93,120 in grant funding from the Arizona Department of Homeland Security through the Operation Stonegarden Program. This funding supports enhanced cooperation between the department, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Border Patrol. It supports proactive deployments to enforce state drug trafficking and traffic laws in the Sierra Vista area.
  • The City Council unanimously approved the renewal of an intergovernmental agreement between the City and the Arizona Department of Transportation to continue providing local traffic crash data to the state for statistical analysis and publication.
  • The City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Gray, Council Member Carolyn Umphrey, and Council Member Sarah Pacheco to serve on the Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization board.
  • The City Council unanimously approved the appointment of George Fisher, Jr., to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Details on the council meeting items are available in the supporting documents for the Thursday, Feb. 11, City Council meeting. They can be accessed via the “City Council” folder on the City’s document server at

City Council meetings can be streamed live and past meetings can be viewed on YouTube. The meetings are also aired on Cox Channel 12. Learn more at or in the “Council HQ” page at