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Gilbert Rejects Proposals for 2 Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries

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Gilbert Town Council has sided with opponents of two proposed medical marijuana dispensaries and rejected a Planning Commission recommendation the two facilities be approved and sent to the state for further action.

The council on Thursday granted the appeals of several nearby residents and business owners who contended the two proposed dispensaries in the town's northwestern part of town violated the town's requirement that they be located a minimum 1,000 feet away from a community park.

Opponents also said one of the dispensaries violated the required distance from a church.

The two businesses -- Sonoran Star Remedies and Beleaf Inc. -- would have been the first two medical marijuana dispensaries approved by the town. However, the state has decided not to approve any medical marijuana dispensaries pending its suit in federal court over whether Arizona's marijuana law violates federal drug statutes.

The council's action also gives town officials more time to analyze the issue that arose from opponents of Beleaf and Sonoran Star.

That issue involves the town's definition of a park.

Dispensary opponents claimed both dispensaries were located less than 1,000 feet from water- rentention basins and grassy areas that, while not necessarily an official park, were used by residents for recreation.

Town staffers had rejected that claim, and the planning commission agreed with the staffers.

State regulations allow one dispensary in each "community health analysis area" -- or CHAA -- as defined by a map drawn by the Department of Health Services. Gilbert has two essentially divided by Lindsay Road.

If more than one dispensary in the same area meets all qualifications, the certificate will be granted by random selection.

Would-be dispensary operators are having trouble finding suitable property in Gilbert's eastern CHAA, because of a code restriction that requires the businesses be at least 1,000 feet from any public or private park, prospective owner Brett Paulson had told the commission.

Paul Schroeder, operations manager for Sonoran Star Remedies, asked Gilbert officials to request that the state allow two dispensaries in the town's western CHAA instead.

As of April 27, there were at least 12 medical-marijuana patient applications in Gilbert's western zone and at least 29 applications in the eastern area, Gilbert senior planner Mike Milillo has said.

The commission plans next month to discuss how to regulate "caregivers," who currently can grow marijuana at home for up to five patients who live more than 25 miles away from a dispensary.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: azcentral.com
Author: Srianthi Perera
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: azcentral.com
Website: Gilbert rejects proposals for 2 medical-marijuana dispensaries
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