The Marana Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for Progressive Herbal Care to move forward with plans to open a medical marijuana dispensary at 6248 N. Travel Center Drive.

The measure passed 5-2 April 28, with Chairman Normal Fogel and Commissioner Jeffrey Adragna voting no.

During the hearing, two people spoke, with one being against the dispensary, and another in favor.

Progressive Herbal Care is the first to submit an application to build a dispensary in Marana town limits.

This is possible after Arizona voters approved Proposition 203 to make using marijuana for medicinal purposes legal.

Even though voters approved the measure in November, the process to make marijuana available to qualified patients has been slow as the Arizona Department of Health Services worked to develop guidelines for distributors, caregivers, doctors and perspective patients.

ADHS started accepting applications for patients on April 14. Statewide, 700 applications were submitted. Among the diseases reported for needing medical marijuana were  cancer, Hepatitis C, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and Crohn’s disease.

By April 22, ADHS had approved an estimated 579 applications. Those who were denied in the first round can reapply.

While patients are being approved, opening a dispensary will take longer.

Dispensaries will be required to follow strict regulations before starting up. Even though the process is moving forward in Marana, Progressive Herbal Care will have to follow state regulations which, according to the ADHS’ website, starts with a $5,000 application and filing an application that asks them to confirm whether:

• They have been a resident of Arizona for three years;

• They are delinquent on federal, state and local taxes, child support, or student loans, etc.;

• They have ever filed for personal bankruptcy;

• They have ever been a principal officer of a business entity that filed for bankruptcy;

• Everyone with a 20 percent or greater financial interest in the dispensary is an applicant or board member; and

• They have access to $150K in startup capital.

Patients can begin buying medical marijuana late this summer or in the fall.

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