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The Tucson City Council signed off on a major rezoning that would allow an apartment complex to be built on North Fourth Avenue, replacing Maloney’s Tavern and a nearby warehouse.

Their approval to turn the 1.68-acre site at the southern end of Fourth at Eighth Street and Stevens Avenue on the west into market-rate apartments and ground-level retail came with a number of strings attached.

Property owners, Partners on Fourth Investments, as well as any future owners — would be limited on what types of retail would be permitted. Pawn shops, marijuana dispensaries or anything with a drive-through would be prohibited.

The owners also agreed to give up to $35,000 to the adjacent Iron Horse Neighborhood to use as it sees fit to address traffic issues.

The council added more restrictions Tuesday night, including allowing only a specific type of liquor licenses to be issued — beer and wine only — to any future restaurant.

Councilman Steve Kozachik added that he was concerned about balconies for the units, noting they have become an issue at nearby student housing complexes.

More than 40 residents showed up to the council meeting — with many opposed to the project.

Those who spoke to the council seemed to reject the idea the complex would appeal to a broad portion of Tucson residents, and that it is a thinly veiled attempt to build more housing for college students.

Mark Irwin, a member of the Rio Nuevo redistricting board, told the council he fully supports the proposed redevelopment even though the property is not part of the taxing district.

He argued there was a need for new housing in downtown, saying the influx of jobs in the general area has outstripped the current housing supply, and many people want to live in the downtown area.

Irwin suggested the proposed complex would be a good addition to North Fourth Avenue, which he said is a prominent gateway into downtown.

Former City Councilman Fred Ronstadt attempted to correct Irwin, saying the discussion was not about downtown — but how the two proposed buildings with a minimum 110 feet and maximum 160 feet in height — would impact future development along Fourth.

Ronstadt, the executive director of the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, said Fourth is “the soul of the Old Pueblo” and any new development deserves careful consideration.

While the council decision was unanimous, two members did not vote on the proposal.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild voluntarily excused himself from the vote, noting he is on a nonprofit board with one of the developers. Councilwoman Regina Romero did not attend the meeting.

The proposed project still has a long way to go in terms of development, with a series of regulatory hurdles ahead before developers could conceivably begin construction.

This is the second major apartment project planned on Fourth Avenue just north of downtown.

Developer EdR, based in Memphis, Tennessee, is planning to build a multilevel apartment complex between Sixth and Seventh streets, called The Union on Sixth.

The property is mostly occupied by The Flycatcher bar and music venue.

In that project, the northeast corner would be three stories tall and the southeast corner two stories tall. The tallest part of the development, seven stories, would sit back closer to Fifth Avenue.

by Carly Wolf, NORML Political AssociateMarch 30, 2018

Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

I first want to bring your attention to a key development at the federal level. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he will introduce a bill to legalize industrial hemp next month. The legislation will not only change hemp’s status under the law but will also set aside federal funds to support its cultivation.

At the state level, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has made dramatic changes to the state’s regulatory program. Changes include: reduced cost of the medical marijuana registry for patients by 50%; reduced cost for veterans, seniors, and those on disability by 90%; expanded the qualifying conditions list to include Tourette syndrome, chronic pain, and other conditions; and other much needed technical fixes.

Also at the state level, Iowa regulators offered medical cannabis dispensary licenses to five businesses, and North Dakota activists say they’ve collected more than half the signatures they need to qualify a marijuana legalization ballot measure.

At a more local level, New Orleans, Louisiana marijuana arrests are dramatically down following the enactment of an ordinance that allows police to issues summonses for low-level possession.

Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

Your highness,
Carly

Priority Alerts

Federal

End Prohibition: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.

Click here to e-mail your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

Connecticut

The Connecticut Legislature is considering several bills to to regulate and tax the retail sale of marijuana to adults. HB 5111 and HB 5112 are still pending in the Joint Committee on General Law, and HB 5458 died in a House committee last week.

Update: The General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee held a hearing on 3/28 on another proposal, HB 5394, to develop a plan to legalize and regulate the retail sale of marijuana in the state and to provide for substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness programs and measures.

CT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization efforts

South Carolina

Legislation is pending, H 3521 and S 212: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, to allow for the physician-authorized use of marijuana for patients with specific debilitating medical conditions. If passed, the bill would provide patients with regulated access to medical cannabis via licensed providers.

Update: The Senate Medical Affairs Committee approved S 212 on 3/29 on an 8-6 vote, after it was approved by the subcommittee on a 3-2 vote last week. H3521 was tabled after the House Medical, Military, and Public and Municipal Affairs Committee held a hearing, but the Chairman didn’t put the bill on the agenda.

SC resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana access

Tennessee

Medical Extracts
State Representative Jeremy Faison (R) and State Senator Steve Dickerson (R) have introduced legislation, SB 1710 and HB 1749 to establish a limited medical marijuana access program in Tennessee.
The measure permits qualified patients to possess marijuana-infused oil products, as well as other non-herbal forms of cannabis, from state-licensed dispensaries. Both patients and physicians would be required to participate in a state registry.

Update: HB 1749/SB 1710 was significantly amended at the request of the sponsor. As amended, the measure depenalizes the possession of CBD extracts by qualified patients, and also provides protections to those from out of state. It does not provide an in-state regulated supply system for CBD products. Members of the House Criminal Justice Committee approved the amended bill on 3/28.

HB 1749 will be heard by the Health Committee on 4/3, and SB 1710 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee also on 4/3.

TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of CBD extracts

Medical Cannabis
Legislation is pending, HB 830 and SB 1119, to establish a medical marijuana access program.

The bill would provide qualified patients with access to cannabis therapy through licensed dispensaries or pharmacies, under the supervision of a certified practitioner. The bill would also prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals solely because of their status as a medical cannabis patient.

TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical cannabis access

New Jersey

Legislation is pending, S2426 and A3740, to further expand the state’s medical marijuana law.

The measures provide doctors the discretion to recommend medical marijuana to any patient for whom they believe it will provide a benefit.

NJ resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical expansion

New Hampshire

Legislation is pending, SB 388, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

The bill would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a second dispensary location in the geographic area that includes Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties for therapeutic cannabis. Currently there are only four licensed dispensaries operating across the state to serve an estimated 3,500 patients.

Update: SB 388 passed the Senate on 3/22, and now awaits action in the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee.

NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical expansion

Additional Actions to Take

California

Legislation has been introduced by Sen. Bob Hertzberg [D], SB 930, to assist financial institutions to safely conduct transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

Update: SB 930 will be heard by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee on 4/18 at 1:30pm in Room 112.

CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of banking access

Hawaii

Legislation is pending, HB 2729, to allow for out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders to access medical cannabis while visiting Hawaii. It already passed the House earlier this month.

Other provisions in the bill prohibit employers from either discriminating against or taking punitive actions against employees solely based on their medical cannabis use or patient status.

Update: HB 2729 will be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Thursday 3/29 at 10:50am in Conference room 211.

HI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of reciprocity

Oklahoma

HB 2913 is pending: The Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. If passed, this bill would allow universities to cultivate hemp for research and development purposes. It already passed the House unanimously earlier this month.

Update: HB 2913 was approved by the Senate Agriculture and Wildlife Committee on 3/27, and is now awaiting action from the Appropriations Committee.

OK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of a hemp pilot program

Kansas

Legislation is pending, SB 263, to establish a state-licensed industrial hemp research program. It was already approved by the Senate last month.

Update: SB 263 was approved by the House on 3/28 by a 123-1 vote. It now awaits action from the Governor.

KS resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of hemp research

That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more legislative updates!