Arizona Republic: “Phoenix has suspended its 180-day requirement for holders of medical-marijuana permits to seek state licenses. . . . 87 applications for medical-marijuana operations came into the city since Jan. 1. Of those, only about 20 have been approved.”
Arizona Republic: “Phoenix has suspended its 180-day requirement for holders of medical-marijuana permits to seek state licenses. The move is a result of the state lawsuit against the federal government regarding clarification of Arizona’s medical-marijuana law.”
What should MMJ entrepreneurs expect from their insurance agent? Besides providing the correct coverages for one’s business, a dedicated insurance professional can deliver other services that support your goal of obtaining an ADHS dispensary license.
For example: to help prospective dispensary owners finalize their applications, agents can provide them with quotes for all pieces of the business: General Liability, Professional Liability, Property (to include Crop Coverage), Business Auto, Directors & Officers coverage for your Board, Med Mal and Workers Compensation for your staff. Doing so will make your application that much more appealing to ADHS.
Another advantage of working with your agent, especially right now, is that fine-tuning your building layout and operational plans will help you to realize all available premium discounts for meeting the safety and security criteria insurance carriers have.
Your agent can also help you win a Special or Conditional Use Permit by writing a letter in support of your zoning request to the city or county you want to locate in; a personal appearance on your behalf is even better.
My experience has been that those in advisory or decision-making positions find it compelling when a risk-management professional testifies that MMJ businesses pose no more threat to the community than pharmacies, jewelry stores or even the local Circle K.
One issue often overlooked is the effect an MMJ business will have on the landlord; many of their current “Lessor’s Risk” policies will be canceled by mainstream (“preferred” or “admitted”) carriers when a medical marijuana use begins operations in their building. Your agent should be on top of this so that you don’t end up paying for a big premium increase to your landlord’s policy.
Correctly insuring your dispensary, grow, delivery service or testing lab demands knowledge of the MMJ industry, because Medical Marijuana surely ain’t tiddly-winks. Find an agent that knows the business, has their ear to the ground and offers value-added service to get the most from your partnership.
Doug Banfelder is a Commercial Insurance Specialist. He can be reached at www.PremierDispensaryInsurance.com or by calling 480-315-9051
Arizona Republic: “The first and so far only appeal of a use permit for a medical-marijuana dispensary has been postponed. The permit was granted to applicants Michelle Gilmore and Joseph Butler over the objections of Stephen Earl, a zoning attorney who represented Ping”
Arizona Republic: “The first five medical marijuana dispensaries approved in Phoenix are confined to office and industrial parks, an early indication that Phoenix’s new zoning rules for the dispensaries are so restrictive that few, if any, outlets will be located anywhere near the people who need them. Because of distance requirements from homes, churches, schools and parks, some real-estate attorneys believe there is virtually no retail site throughout the city that would meet the requirements.”
Arizona Republic: “A Phoenix hearing officer on Thursday considered nine requests for medical marijuana permits – six for dispensaries and three for cultivation. The nine applicants were the first to come before the city.” Only six of the nine applicants received city approval. Read the locations, applicants and city decision.
Arizona Republic: “The rush is on to open medical-marijuana dispensaries. On Thursday, a Phoenix hearing officer will consider nine requests for use permits to open medical-marijuana operations. Eight of the applications are for dispensaries and one is for cultivation.”
Wow! After all this time only eight dispensary zoning applications for Arizona’s largest city. DHS: Take note. Your rules and the CHAAs coupled with city zoning is making it impossible for would-be dispensaries to find a site to operate an Arizona medical marijuana dispensary.
Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Threatens to Sue Phoenix Over Its Pre-registration Zoning Procedure
Alan Sobol and the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals are claiming that the City of Phoenix zoning department has been up to no good. Here is the text of a January 31, 2011, email message I received from Alan Sobol and the Consiglieri Group:
We have uncovered a scheme to defraud Dispensary Applicants in the City of Phoenix. Phoenix recently implemented a Pre-registration scheme fraught with Cronyism, Nepotism, Favoritism and Abuse of Authority. To read the complaint click here: (seed2success.com/phxcomplaint.html). We have exposed the truth, now we need to wait and see what the mayor will do. If you were planning to file for zoning approval in the City of Phoenix I urge you to contact the city and let them know what you think about this. [email protected] If you have any questions or comments please contact me at [email protected]
Read the Press Release found at the above link. AZADP alleges that Phoenix instituted its medical marijuana zoning pre-registration without legal authority because pre-registration is not provided for in the zoning ordinance G-5573 adopted by the Phoenix CIty Council. Quotes from the Press Release:
Notice of Intent to Commence Legal Action: City of Phoenix Initiates Illegal Pre-registration of Potential Marijuana Sites: Allegations of Fraud, Cronyism, Nepotism, Favoritism and Abuse of Authority
It appears from the evidence that the City’s “pre-registration” program was solely intended to provide certain influential entities preferential treatment with respect to the selection of their medical Marijuana Business locations.
People are asking me questions about Phoenix zoning that I cannot answer such as:
- What is pre-registration, what does it mean and how does it work?
- If I pre-register how does pre-registration relate to actual registration?
- The application requires the applicant to list the location of all existing and/or pending medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation and infusion facilities within 5,280 feet (1 mile) of the applicant’s site. Are you kidding? How in the world would an applicant know the location of other sites that have not yet been approved by Phoenix zoning and that do not yet have DHS licenses?
- The application requires the applicant to submit its operations procedures. Excuse me! What are operations procedures? Arizona Department of Health Services doesn’t require operations procedures so why would Phoenix other than to create a pain in the nonprofit entity’s butt.
- The application requires the applicant to submit a plot plan or survey showing compliance with the separation requirements. Does this mean the applicant must hire a licensed surveyor to prepare a survey that shows the location is not too close to any thing? Probably. You will need a legal description of the site, which a surveyor can provide if it’s not easily obtainable. Without a survey how are you going to determine if your location is more than:
1. 5,280 feet from existing and/or pending medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation and infusion facilities
2. 1,320 feet from all preschool, kindergarten, elementary, secondary or high school, public park or public community center
3. 500 feet from all places of worship
4. 250 feet from any residence (for a dispensary)
5. 1,000 feet from any residence (for cultivation and infusion sites). I thought the 1,000 foot setback was a typo because according to my calculations (which could be wrong because I’m a lawyer not a mathematician) the site would have to be at least 92 acres in size. A 1,000 foot setback requires a square parcel to have four sides each 2,000 feet long, which is 4,000,000 square feet. Are there any locations in Phoenix that have the necessary zoning and meet this setback requirement?
The application contains this confusing statement:
“Registrations that have expired are NON-RENEWABLE. A new registration for the proposed use shall not be accepted within thirty (30) days of the expiration date of the prior registration. A maximum one-time thirty (30) day extension may be granted to the applicant by the Zoning Administrator.”
Here are links to the actual Phoenix zoning documents:
- Adopted Ordinance
- Zoning Map
For additional information, questions, or comments, please send an e-mail to [email protected]
I am not the only one who has a problem with Phoenix’ zoning ordinance and procedures. See “Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Threatens to Sue Phoenix Over Its Pre-registration Zoning Procedure.”
Arizona Republic: Phoenix Planning and Development Services Director Debra “Stark said the city tried to strike a balance with its zoning laws that would be strict enough to protect the community and neighborhoods, but not too strict that they wouldn’t be allowed in the city at all. Phoenix divided medical marijuana land uses into three categories“
Phoenix City Council Approves Phoenix Medical Marijuana Zoning Ordinance
The Phoenix City Council voted on December 8, 2010, to approve its medical marijuana zoning ordinance. Here are some of the requirements of the new zoning ordinance that apply to the retail dispensary location:
- The dispensary must obtain a use permit from the City of Phoenix Planning Department.
- The dispensary must notify Phoenix of the name and location of its grow facility.
- “A survey sealed by a registrant of the State of Arizona shall be submitted to show compliance with the distance requirements listed below if the proposed facility is within 110% of the minimum distance from the proposed facility.” This doesn’t make any sense to me!
- The dispensary cannot grow marijuana at the location of its retail store.
- The dispensary “shall be located in a closed building and may not be located in a trailer, cargo container, or motor vehicle or similar structure or motorized or non-motorized vehicle.”
- The dispensary “shall not exceed 2,000 square feet of net floor area; this shall include all storage areas, retail space and offices.” Wow! This is very limiting.
- The dispensary “shall not be located within 5,280 feet of the same type of use or a medical marijuana cultivation or infusion facility.”
- The dispensary”shall not be located within 250 feet of a the following residentially zoned districts: S-1, S-2, RE-43, RE-35, RE-24, R1-18, R1-14, R1-10, R1-8, R1-6, R-2, R-3, R-3A, R-4, R-4A, R-5, PAD-1 through PAD-15.”
- The dispensary “shall not be located within 1,320 feet of a preschool, kindergarten, elementary, secondary or high school, public park or public community center.”
- The dispensary “shall not be located within 500 feet of a place of worship.”
- The dispensary “shall have operating hours not earlier than 8:00 a.m. and not later than 7:00 p.m.”
- The dispensary many not have any drive-through services.
Here are some of the requirements of the new zoning ordinance that apply to the dispensary’s medical marijuana cultivation facility location:
- The dispensary’s medical marijuana cultivation facility must obtain a use permit from the City of Phoenix Planning Department.
- The dispensary’s medical marijuana cultivation facility must notify Phoenix of the name and location of its retail dispensary.
- “A survey sealed by a registrant of the State of Arizona shall be submitted to show compliance with the distance requirements listed below if the proposed facility is within 110% of the minimum distance from the proposed facility.” Again, this doesn’t make any sense to me!
- The dispensary’s medical marijuana cultivation facility cannot sell marijuana at its facility.
- The dispensary’s medical marijuana cultivation facility “shall be located in a closed building and may not be located in a trailer, cargo container, or motor vehicle or similar structure or motorized or non-motorized vehicle.”
- The dispensary’s medical marijuana cultivation facility “shall not be located within 5,280 feet of the same type of use or a medical marijuana dispensary or infusion facility.”
- The dispensary’s medical marijuana cultivation facility “shall not be located within 1,000 feet of a the following residentially zoned districts: RE-43, RE-35, RE-24, R1-18, R1-14, R1-10, R1-8, R1-6, R-2, R-3, R-3A, R-4, R-4A, R-5, PAD-1 through PAD-15.”
- “All closed buildings used for the cultivation of medical marijuana shall be setback 1,000 feet from all property lines.” Yikes! Does this mean that a square parcel that has property lines on four sides must have a cultivation facility that is at least 1,000 feet from all four property lines? A square parcel with 1,000 foot setbacks means the property is a square with 2,000 foot sides and not less than 4,000,000 square feet, which is approximately 92 acres (4,000,000/43,560 fee per acre). What am I missing here?
- The dispensary’s medical marijuana cultivation facility “shall not be located within 1,320 feet of a preschool, kindergarten, elementary, secondary or high school, public park or public community center.”
- The dispensary’s medical marijuana cultivation facility “shall not be located within 500 feet of a place of worship.”