Thu, Aug. 22

Application period starts for marijuana dispensaries in Verde Valley

Medical Marijuana CHAA zones

Medical Marijuana CHAA zones

YAVAPAI COUNTY -- If you are planning to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the Verde Valley or anywhere else in Arizona, you have only a small window of time in which to apply to the state.

Beginning Monday, May 14, and for the following 10 working days (through May 25) the Arizona Department of Health Services will accept Medical Marijuana Dispensary Certificate Applications that are needed to be able to sell the product to qualified users.

The four-page application requires a lot of detailed information, including a location that is within the zoning limitations established in a community. A new requirement provides that a licensed physician be employed as a medical director be on hand. The applicant must be 21 years of age and have no felonies on his or her record. An applicant must also show the shop will operate as a "non profit.'

Since the citizen initiate was approved in November 2010, Realtors and agents have scoped communities for the appropriate zoning and some have spoken with Charles Scully, Cottonwood's long-term planner. Scully says the zoning is in commercial areas along main routes, but at a distance from schools and child care centers.

The so-called Prop 203, used to create a medical marijuana program, created user identification cards in April 2011 showing that the bearer has a qualifying health issue that allows the use of medical marijuana.

The state has been divided into 125 designated zones into which a dispensary may be permitted. Most of the Verde Valley is in a so-called Community Health Analysis Area (CHAA) Yavapai NE. Sedona and Oak Creek are in a separate area called Sedona.

Scully believes only a single dispensary will be approved in each zone, likely in Sedona and possibly Cottonwood.

According to the latest report, released in April, there are 488 card carrying "users" in Yavapai NE and another 164 in Sedona CHAA. There are 11 caregivers registered in YAV NE and 5 in Sedona CHAA.

According to the report 25,656 people statewide hold a medical marijuana card.

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