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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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5/14/2013 3:05:00 PM
Medical marijuana outlets flourishing

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

VERDE VALLEY -- An application is being filed for a medical marijuana dispensary to be located in Cottonwood in a small strip mall for service-oriented business at 675 E. 89A.

Cashif Ansari of Prescott is the applicant.

Ansari reportedly has been working with the Department of Health Services for a while, according to Berrin Nejad of the Cottonwood's Community Development Department. On May 14, the proposal will be reviewed by the Cottonwood Code Review Board to make sure the location meets the code for the intended use, a routine assessment for all businesses.

The address is the same building formerly used by TASC (Treatment Assessment Screening Center), a non-profit drug treatment and counseling service.

Opened in Sedona

A dispensary in Coconino-Sedona had a soft opening three weeks ago. There is a discreet entrance behind a bamboo gate on the back side of the Takashi Japanese Restaurant at 465 Jordan Road in Sedona's Uptown.

"The landlady initially thought it would be like a head shop, but that is not the atmosphere we want to project," said Ted Downing.

Downing, who lives in Tucson and has a second home in Sedona, is CEO and chairman of the board of the licensing non-profit, a requirement for medical marijuana dispensaries.

In Sedona, the local dispensary does business under the name Bloom Dispensary, though Downing's corporation is called Zonacare. Downing says his operation actually acquires the product from Bloom Dispensary in Phoenix.

Under the Department of Health Services rules, dispensaries may also buy from one another and can even receive donated product, Downing explained.

Downing likes the fact that the Bloom product is distributed in hermetically sealed packages so it doesn't degrade in Arizona's dry conditions.

Downing said, however, that transfers of medical marijuana must be strictly controlled. "Everything has to be labeled and identified according to who gets what from whom and when it was grown. There are strict protocols on transfers."

Don't look for large marijuana shipping vans pulling up on the street. Downing said the state insists that it must be transferred only in unmarked cars so that it doesn't draw attention. The inventory must be strictly treated the same as ballots would be for an election. He says even the containers in which it is shipped look like ballot boxes.

He agrees that the check list has very high standards, requires thorough background checks and high security requirements. He said the financials must be in order and upstanding to get into the original drawing.

Inspectors crawled around the Sedona dispensary, Downing said of their inspection. "One of our security cameras had a blind spot of about one foot square and so they wrote us up and gave us so many hours to get it fixed. We adjusted the camera, of course, and returned the paperwork with a verification that it was working.

"We wanted our security to be good, to protect our product, the people that work with us and our customers."

Downing believes that in 126 CHAAs (Community Health Analysis Areas) where the selected applicant was not able to open, the permit will be returned to the pool to be re-issued, though he suspects the state may avoid the unpopular random drawing used in the first round. A dispensary is allowed in each of the CHAAs.

He also suspects that a lot of card holders will be disappointed they no longer will be allowed to grow their own within the 25-mile radius of a dispensary as they have in the past.

Downing became interested in the medical marijuana business because his mother died of cancer. He expects the coming wave of the product will look like the recent story about an Israeli discovery that was able to separate the two components that make up cannabis. The product Tikun Olam is said to eliminate the component that creates the 'high' in marijuana, leaving only the pain relief component.

Coming to Chino Valley

Organica Patient Group is scheduled to open as early as Wednesday at 856 Highway 89 in Chino Valley, said R.J. Alarcon, president of the company.

Organica will be selling all kinds of edibles containing marijuana, as well as vaporizers that allow people to avoid smoking marijuana, Alarcon said. And it will deliver its products to people's homes.

A marijuana growing facility already is in the works in Chino Valley to provide medical marijuana to a couple dispensaries in the Phoenix area. Representatives said they chose Chino Valley for the climate, and they hope to open this month.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Wake up,the paraphenalia alone is enough to put you back in jail.

Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Article comment by: You are correct, Slater!

The Sedona dispenseary is selling marijuana at $54.00 for 3 grams, which make it about $540 for an ounce.

Buying it from the cartels is cheaper!

Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2013
Article comment by: Sister Slater What??

Sister are you daft?

If you are an EX Con or a probation or parole and you a have a state issued DHS Arizona Medical Marijuana Program Patient or Caregiver ID, then you are exempt from prosecution by the State of Arizona for possessing and or legally obtaining Marijuana. Those brown sedans may well be Sedona PD or PANT, they are not able to bust you for obtaining Marijuana. They will however pull you over and accuse you of driving under the inffluence and demand a blood test because you will "fail" your field sobriety test, and since the metabolites of Marijuana that they test for remain in your system for weeks after usage, you will get a DUI. Or even worse they will follow you and obtain information to determine if you are growing your own and pop you for cultivation.
So if you are going to use the cops to scare people at least scare them for the right reasons

Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Cheaper to buy from the Cartels.

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

See those 1964 Chryslers (ya the brown ones)
across from the dispensaries? Their not tourists.
On probation,parole,got warrants?Smile when you leave the dispensary so the picture will
identify you.Cause your goin back to the joint.
Pun intended

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: Susan TFHS

Oh, I see. Dispensaries are to be the only ones distributing it. Nevermind that it's called a WEED BECAUSE IT IS, and that growing it should be within the rights of the people who are using it legally. Now they can't because there's a dispensary within 25 miles??? Who's benefitting from that? Because the patients surely aren't.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: johnny reeferseed

And within 6 months all of the owners will be looking at 6 years in a federal pen. Obama doesn't like AZ thanks to Brewer, so it's not the best time to open said stores. I'm guessing another 10 years before the feds give up the war on pot...

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