Tempe Law Opens Door To New Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

By Mariana Dale
Published: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 3:17pm

Tempe City Council voted 4-2 last week to lift the limit of two medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

“I don’t think it makes sense to have an arbitrary numeric cap, what’s more important to me frankly, mayor, is where they’re located, not how many there are exactly,” Councilman David Schapira said in the meeting.

Schapira was part of the majority who supported the change; Mayor Mark Mitchell and Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage voted no on the measure.

“It’s just really difficult for me to even want to see us go beyond where we already are,” Arredondo-Savage said.

Arizona State University President Michael Crow and the Tempe Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking & Drug Use wrote letters asking Tempe not to increase the number of dispensaries.

The city currently has two medical marijuana dispensaries and a third has been approved, but does not exist yet.

Under the revised ordinance dispensaries will have to be:

  • 1 mile from another dispensary.
  • 1,500 feet from elementary and secondary schools.
  • One-fourth of a mile from residential lots.
  • 1,500 feet from child-care facilities.

The measurements are determined by a straight line in all directions.

The council spent part of the May 25 meeting in executive session consulting with the city attorney before making its decision.

Tempe staff do not have an estimate on how many dispensaries could operate in the city under the new ordinance.