Maricopa’s Planning and Zoning Commission will review proposed ordinance changes regarding marijuana dispensaries during its Tuesday, March 28, evening meeting.

The session, at Maricopa City Hall at 6 p.m., will cover a host of proposed changes to the city’s zoning code regarding definitions, licensing and requirements of marijuana dispensaries. This is the first major change to city code surrounding recreational marijuana since the council passed an emergency provision in 2021 essentially blocking such dispensaries from operating in Maricopa.

One of the primary changes includes replacing “medical” with “qualifying” when describing the types of marijuana facilities permitted in the city. This removes the dual-licensing requirements that dispensaries also sell medical marijuana as mandated by the city in 2021, and it would make city code consistent with state code.

Another proposed code change includes updating the distances dispensaries may build from specific entities, such as a minimum 500 feet from schools, day-care centers, care homes, parks and religious facilities. Dispensaries would be required to be a minimum 250 feet from the boundaries of residential areas and at least 1,500 feet from other dispensaries.

The amendment requires dispensary security plans to be reviewed and approved by the Police Department prior to licensing. This would require the facility to provide information on its safety conditions and employee background checks that exclude violent felons.

The public hearing will be the first item on the commission’s agenda. If the changes are approved, the measure would move forward to City Council for review.