Photo Courtesy Los Sueños Farms: An outdoor cannabis farm like this one in Colorado has been unanimously approved by the Graham County Board of Supervisors for an Eden location.
“We’re going to start building.”Clint Colvin – Colvin Farms
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Those who are involved in a commercial cannabis growing operation in Eden were given the green light to proceed by the Graham County Board of Supervisors at its Monday morning meeting.
After finding no issue with the application to change zoning to M-X Unlimited Manufacturing Land Use Classification, the BOS unanimously approved the zoning.
After the meeting, Clint Colvin, of Colvin Farms, told the Gila Herald that the next step will be to receive a building permit and get to work constructing the facility.
“We’re going to start building,” Colvin said.
Colvin already has harvested a 100-acre hemp farm the past two years in the same area.
Hemp contains little to no THC (Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the active ingredient in cannabis that provides the high when users ingest it. Hemp is used in a variety of products, including medical use for inflammation, while popular strains of some medical cannabis and recreational cannabis have THC levels of around 20 percent or slightly higher.
According to Colvin, the 35 to 37-acre outdoor cannabis farm will be surrounded by a solid, 10-foot fence as required by the state of Arizona, and will feature more than 100 high-resolution security cameras to deter unwanted guests. The cannabis will be grown in hoop houses to protect it from the elements and will utilize grow lights.
Arizona recently began the sale of recreational cannabis after Proposition 207 overwhelmingly passed last year, which essentially legalized cannabis for adults 21 years old and older. Individuals are also allowed to grow their own cannabis plants but are limited to no more than six plants at their residences and the plants must be within a lockable, enclosed area and beyond public view.
Arizona voters previously passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act in 2010 that allowed for residents with specific medical conditions to be treated with marijuana. After that passage, the Arizona Department of Health Services was tasked with approving medical cannabis cultivation sites and dispensaries.
In January, the state initially approved 73 medical dispensaries’ requests to sell recreational cannabis with its medical cannabis as well. Recreational cannabis sales are taxed at 16 percent on top of existing transaction privilege tax and use tax. Revenues from the 16 percent tax will be divided between community college districts; municipal police, sheriff, and fire departments; fire districts’ the Highway User Revenue Fund, and a new Justice Reinvestment Fund.
Colvin previously told the Gila Herald that, unlike hemp, cannabis with THC is regulated more strictly and no part of the plant can leave the farm unless it is licensed to do so. The crop would be processed on-site and then transported to Phoenix. There will be no local sales from the farm.
A separate group, Bayacan, Inc. has expressed interest in purchasing one of the greenhouses at the NatureSweet facility in Bonita to grow medical-grade cannabis indoors. That proposition has met staunch resistance from residents neighboring the facility.
NatureSweet has advised that if the location is not allowed to diversify by selling one of its greenhouses for cannabis production, it will have to close the entire facility.
NatureSweet will hold a community meeting Thursday, April 22, at The Venue at 430 W. Main St. in Downtown Safford to discuss the facility’s operations and proposal. The meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m.