The owners of a medical marijuana dispensary attempting to open in Ahwatukee Foothills have been granted more time to do so.

The state originally set a deadline for dispensaries to open up a year from when they receive their certificate as part of the Medical Marijuana Program. That would mean all certificate owners must submit an application for approval to operate by June 7 and open their dispensaries by Aug. 7 or lose their certificate to operate.

Eleven dispensaries sued the state to have that deadline extended. Nature’s Healing Center, which has a license to open in the Ahwatukee Foothills Community Health Analysis Area (CHAA), is one of the plaintiffs in the case.

The state has decided to grant a temporary restraining order, which will allow the owners an additional eight weeks to get their dispensaries open.

“Basically, the Plaintiffs allege that the legal issues that have arisen in response to the White Mountain Health Center, Inc. (a prospective dispensary) case have made it unreasonably difficult for the Plaintiffs to be able to get their dispensaries up and running in the 1-year timeframe allowed under our regulations,” Will Humble, director of the state’s Department of Health Services wrote in a blog post on Thursday, May 30.

Humble said in the same post that 20 or so dispensaries are already up and running in the state of Arizona and another dozen have filed their request for an approval to operate.

The Department of Health is involved in 12 lawsuits regarding the Medical Marijuana Program.

Nature’s Healing Center has been battling to find the right location in Ahwatukee Foothills for its dispensary. They withdrew an application for a site near 48th Street and Chandler Boulevard out of consideration for neighbor’s concerns, and the city recently denied a zoning variance that would allow them to go into a space at 4902 E. Warner Road. Dispensary owners are appealing that decision. The case will go to the city’s Board of Adjustment on July 11.

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