Oro Valley could become the second northwest-area town to receive a medical marijuana dispensary in about a month’s time.
Shortly after Marana’s Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for a dispensary along Ina Road, Oro Valley has now issued a building permit for Catalina Hills Botanical Care, to be located in a pre-existing building in the Safeway Vistoso Plaza near Oracle and Tangerine roads.
Despite a few complaints by area residents, the town must treat the dispensary as it would any other business that meets town and state requirements.
“The town does not have a stance on this business coming in, other than pointing out that they are in compliance with all zoning codes, regulations, and state statute,” said Oro Valley Communications Director Misti Nowak.
The dispensary is currently awaiting approval from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Proposition 203, voter-approved in 2010, legalized the use of medical marijuana at the state level.
In addition to meeting the zoning code of the jurisdiction in which it falls, a dispensary must also adhere to certain security requirements.
According to ADHS, that includes “having security equipment to deter unauthorized entrance to limited access areas, exterior lighting, and video surveillance cameras.” A dispensary must also have policies and procedures in place for the use of the security equipment to prevent unauthorized access to the dispensary.
According to Oro Valley Police Department spokesperson Lt. Kara Riley, the department will initially inspect all businesses as a part of the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program.
“This is an inspection that often results in simple recommendations from the police department that supports business and community safety,” she said.
Police will also work to ensure those who qualify for medical marijuana are practicing safe behavior, particularly when it comes to endangering others.
“Driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime that is actively addressed through the Oro Valley Police Department’s aggressive DUI enforcement philosophy, which will not change,” said Riley.
As per the department’s usual practice with businesses, the dispensary would be patrolled regularly and will be included in the Adopt-A-Business program, which was initiated to increase communication between businesses and the police department related to crime prevention, information sharing, and collaboration on community projects.
Should the dispensary meet ADHS requirements, medical marijuana cardholders within a 25-mile range would no longer be able to cultivate marijuana in their homes.