FILE - This July 1, 2011 file photo shows fake marijuana displayed in a case, at The 2811 Club, a private cannabis club that plans to dispense marijuana to medically qualified patients in Phoenix.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Ross D. Franklin

Efforts to bring a medical marijuana dispensary to Ahwatukee Foothills have been quiet for about a year, ever since a city zoning official denied one company’s request to put a dispensary at 48th Street and Warner Road, but the company may have found a new location on a county island in Ahwatukee.

A sign outside of 10827 S. 51st Street, next door to Four Points by Sheraton and the former McDonalds location, says work is being done to put a medical marijuana dispensary in the building. While the broker for the building, Grace Capital Investment Corporation, says there is a dispensary moving in, they would not disclose the company’s name.

Peter Valenzuela, president and CEO of Genesis Group Public Relations, said it’s too premature to be announcing any possible new location, but his client, Mike Richards of Nature’s Healing Center, does still hold the certificate needed to open a dispensary in the Ahwatukee Foothills Community Health Analysis Area. Only one dispensary will be allowed within that area according to state law.

The Community Health Analysis Area includes all of Ahwatukee Foothills and the county island.

Nature’s Healing Center has had trouble in the past finding a location that meets all city and state zoning requirements. Its last attempt was to put the dispensary at 4902 E. Warner Road, which city zoning officials denied. That space is now back up for rent.

Nature’s Healing Center has also been accused in the past of altering the paperwork that allowed it to get its certificate, though those claims have never been fully vetted by the county. The company has been fairly transparent in its previous attempts to find a space for the dispensary, even holding an open house to answer questions about the business.

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