Medical marijuana dispensary asks for more time: City grants continuance as documents are investigated - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Local News

Medical marijuana dispensary asks for more time: City grants continuance as documents are investigated

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Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013 2:46 pm | Updated: 6:52 am, Mon Sep 8, 2014.

The company attempting to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Ahwatukee Foothills will present its case for a zoning variance to the city Board of Adjustment on Aug. 8.

Nature’s Healing Center was denied the zoning variances it needed to go into a location at 4902 E. Warner Road by a city hearing officer. They were expected to go before the Board of Adjustment on July 11 to appeal that decision, but instead stood and asked the board for a continuance.

The board did grant the continuance. They will hear the issue on Aug. 8. 

The owners of Nature’s Healing Center asked for more time because they want to investigate claims that their license was received with fraudulent documents. 

Craig O’Loughlin, an attorney with Quarles and Brady, said the documents Nature’s Healing Center received from Maricopa County and submitted to the state to receive its license was not unaltered. He approached the owners of Nature’s Healing Center with this information, and a copy of the original document the county issued, shortly before the Board of Adjustment Hearing on Thursday. In order to fully investigate these claims and ensure the validity of their documents, Nature’s Healing Center asked the city for a continuance.

“We are confident that all the documents we have are legitimate” said Peter Valenzuela, chief executive officer of Genesis Group Public Affairs, who represents the owners of Nature’s Healing Center. “We are confident that the documents we have from the state and the county are in compliance and in order. We requested the continuance so that we can get a chance to examine and investigate the allegation itself.”

Nature’s Healing Center needs a variance in order to place its dispensary within 825 feet of a Child Time Day Care and within 140 feet of a residentially-zoned area.

According to deadlines set up in state law the dispensary must open by Aug. 7, but Nature’s Healing Center is part of a lawsuit asking the state for an extended deadline. There will be hearings on that lawsuit July 15 through 17.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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