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State Health Official Warns Cities to Get Zoning Regulations in Order

Phoenix, AZ – The issue is Proposition 203. If approved it would allow patients
who have a doctor's recommendation to obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces
of marijuana every two weeks. State Health Director Will Humble
has some medical concerns, questioning whether marijuana really
is an effective medication. But Humble said there's a more
practical problem. The initiative requires him to approve the
licenses of the dispensaries that will sell the product and their
cultivation sites as long as it's legal where they want to go.

(If the city or town doesn't have the zoning restriction in place
at the time we receive our application, I've got no choice but to
approve that marijuana dispensary. And it might be next to a
playground or a church or a park or someplace that the city's
like, are you kidding me, Department of Health Services, you let
them have the dispensary right next to our playground or our
public pool?)

Humble said there isn't much time for communities to act. He said
if the measure is approved, he has to get the program up and
running within 120 days after the vote is formally certified.
That's going to hit sometime next March, not much time for city
and county staffers to prepare the regulations, go through the
necessary public hearings and have the laws the books by that
date. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.