According to current laws in the Tempe area, marijuana dispensaries are not allowed to stay open past 8 p.m., and the rule for Scottsdale is 7 p.m. On the other hand, dispensaries in Phoenix like Urban Greenhouse and some other areas are allowed to do business until 10 p.m.
The Harvest Health and Recreation dispensary, which is based in Tempe, Arizona, is requesting the local authorities to allow its stores in Tempe and Scottsdale to serve customers until 10 p.m., making them available to customers in a similar fashion as stores in other Arizona cities.
Representatives of the company explained that the change in the hours of operation will help keep sales tax revenues in the local area because customers will no longer be forced to travel outside of the Tempe area for marijuana products later in the evening. This is a compelling rationale for the government authorities to grant their request.
According to statewide guidelines, dispensaries are allowed to stay open until 10 p.m., but local municipalities have the right to limit business hours as they see fit. Because of this discretionary power, business hours vary a great deal from one city to another.
In order to grant the request made by Harvest Health, the city councils of Tempe and Scottsdale would be required to change the zoning and development codes so that dispensaries could stay open much later. The voting was scheduled to take place in February.
This is not the first time that the city councils will be making a decision about operating hours of dispensaries since the sales of medical marijuana were approved in 2010. In 2015, Tempe extended business hours for businesses that were required to close at 6 p.m. so that they could stay open until 8 p.m.
As part of the process of filing a request to amend city codes, residents and business owners in Scottsdale are allowed to attend open house meetings to voice their input on the matter before the council makes its ruling. Harvest Health also operates dispensaries in several other cities, and the company plans on requesting later business hours in all other locations. The company owns 10 stores throughout Arizona.
If the city councils in Tempe and Scottsdale rule in favor of Harvest Health’s request, the new rules will apply for all dispensaries in the jurisdiction, including ones owned by other companies.
Is safety an Issue?
According to a lobbyist working for Harvest HOC, later hours of operation for dispensaries do not pose any safety hazards for the general public. The rationale for this opinion is that the stores have 24-hour surveillance, the grounds have adequate lighting and the entrances are secure.
The local police have also said that they don’t think that the stores will pose any safety concerns if they stay open later. Their reason for this was that the department has received a low number of emergency calls.
A crime study also revealed that more crimes were committed near liquor stores and pharmacies than marijuana dispensaries. There were only 60 crimes reported near dispensaries during a given time period, which is minuscule compared to several hundreds of crimes near pharmacies and nearly a thousand near liquor stores.
It seems likely that holders of marijuana medical cards will soon be able to acquire their medical substances at later hours in the Scottsdale and Tempe areas. Considering that the state laws allow this and the statistics don’t show any security risks, the changes should provide a net gain for local citizens.