Scottsdale residents in search of medical marijuana after 7 p.m. will no longer have to schlep it to Phoenix or Tempe for edibles and pre-rolls, following a Tuesday night vote by the Scottsdale City Council that granted dispensaries in the city the right to stay open until 10 p.m.
Technically, the council amended the Conditional Use Permit criteria for medical marijuana uses to allow for extended hours of operation. There are currently five medical marijuana Conditional Use Permits in Scottsdale: four dispensaries and one cultivation facility.
The amendment was requested by Harvest Health and Recreation, which owns one of those dispensaries and is the largest dispensary operator in Arizona. In its application, the company cited the fact that medical marijuana dispensaries in surrounding communities, such as Phoenix, Glendale, Chandler, and Tempe, don't close until 10 p.m.
“Currently, most cities adjacent to or nearby Scottsdale allow dispensaries to stay open later than 7:00 pm to match the state law closing hour of 10:00 pm,” Harvest’s representatives wrote in their request. “Scottsdale residents who work later hours are forced to either rush to make the 7:00 pm deadline or travel to a neighboring jurisdiction, causing Scottsdale to lose out on tax revenue.”
The Scottsdale City Council found Harvest's argument persuasive enough, voting 4-3 in favor of the amendment. (Yes votes: Councilmembers Suzanne Klapp, Virginia Korte, Guy Phillips, and Mayor Jim Lane; No votes: Councilmembers Linda Milhaven, Kathy Littlefield, and Vice Mayor Solange Whitehead.)
The Scottsdale Planning Commission had recommended the changes on a 7-0 vote in August. An impact analysis of the amendment noted that the Scottsdale Police Department had expressed "some concern" about the later hours of operation due to the remote location of the dispensaries, but that "in general there are no objections to the amendment."
No other changes were made to the medical marijuana Conditional Use Permit criteria.