COTTONWOOD — “It is mostly attorneys and realtors who are scouting Cottonwood area sites for medical marijuana dispensaries,” says Cottonwood long-range planner Charlie Scully, “rather than potential operators.”
Until Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed a suit on behalf of the state to test the voter’s Medical Marijuana initiative, Scully’s office had received a small flurry of requests for an appropriate zoning review.
The city may not permit any operations, but must show the state that a specific address is appropriate for such an operation: “Applicants for a dispensary registration certificate have to attest they are in accordance with local zoning regulations.”
That review is part of the first stage of the rules established by the Arizona Department of Health Arizona Medical Marijuana Act for applications seeking certification.
Cottonwood has received 10 requests for nine properties. Most of the reviews have been for properties on Main Street, as well as SR 89A, Sixth Street and Cove Parkway. The proposed location must also be appropriately spaced from churches and school activities.
Activity has “dropped off” through Scully’s office since the Attorney General’s May 27th filing with the U.S. District Court for Arizona. The Department of Health has not accepted applications since the court filing.
Scully understands that separate filings could emerge from advocates.
He believes that representatives are looking at centers of population in zones established by the health department. Under the rules, only one dispensary is likely to be located in the Verde Valley zone that includes Cottonwood.
Sedona would be in a separate zone.
The number of dispensaries is limited within Arizona.
Scully has contended that under the state rules, only one dispensary is likely to be located
Horne, representing the Governor, Department of Health and the Department of Public Safety, is asking for “declaratory judgment.”
The filing requests the federal court determine Arizona’s “respective rights and duties…regarding the validity, enforceability, and implementation of the AMMA.” 2)”whether strict compliance and participation in the AMMA provides a safe harbor from federal prosecution” 3) that the court “grant other and further relief as it deems appropriate and proper.”
Scully says some of the initiatives advocates view the challenge lightly, but he suggests the challenge could be potentially fatal for the Arizona law.