The city of Phoenix will hold a meeting open to the public on Thursday, March 14 at 9 a.m. to discuss an application for a zoning variance that would allow a medical marijuana dispensary to open in a shopping center at Chandler Boulevard and 48th Street in Ahwatukee Foothills.
A company called Nature’s Healing Center has requested a use permit to open a medical marijuana dispensary at 4909 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 504.
The company is also asking for a zoning variance to allow the dispensary within 250 feet of a residentially zoned district and within 1,320 feet of a preschool, kindergarten, elementary, secondary or high school, public park and public community center.
City staff said at the meeting the public will have a chance to comment on the issue before the Planning and Development Department decides to accept, accept with stipulations, reject, or continue the application.
A different company attempted to open a dispensary in Ahwatukee Foothills in 2011. Steven White, of White Berberian PLC, served as an attorney for the owner.
White said his client looked at several locations on Chandler Boulevard, including the one currently under consideration, but ultimately decided not to open a dispensary in Ahwatukee.
“The federal government has been very quiet about how they’re choosing to prosecute people,” White said. “There is a very common thread that we’ve seen through the country and that is proximity to schools. If you’re inside 1,000 feet, the likelihood that the federal government would step in is drastically increased. Based on that information and some information received from federal law enforcement, we determined that it was not prudent to go forward with one of those sites on Chandler Boulevard.”
According to the public meeting notice given by the city, the company attempting to open the dispensary now is Nature’s Healing Center. The applicant is listed as Mike Richards. David Dow of the Law Offices of David Dow is listed as the company’s attorney.
Nature’s Healing Center is registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission as a nonprofit. Richards is listed as secretary for the corporation, which has an address in Scottsdale.
The articles of the corporation state that Nature’s Healing Center was formed, in May of 2011, with the purpose of opening and operating a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary.
The state issued only one license to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the Ahwatukee Foothills area so if Nature’s Healing Center is successful it will be the only dispensary allowed in Ahwatukee.
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