from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No.
LC2017-000140-001 The Honorable Patricia A. Starr, Judge
Barrett & Matura, PC, Scottsdale By Jeffrey Matura,
Melissa J. England, Tabitha R. Myers Counsel for
Sherman & Howard, LLC, Phoenix By Gregory W. Falls,
Matthew A. Hesketh Counsel for Defendant/Appellee
Presiding Judge Diane M. Johnsen delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which Judge Randall M. Howe and Judge Paul J.
The Arizona Department of Health Services denied an
application for a medical marijuana dispensary registration
certificate because the applicant failed to comply with a
legal requirement to show that the dispensary's proposed
location "is in compliance with" local zoning
restrictions. The applicant appealed to the superior court,
arguing it satisfied the requirement by submitting a
four-year-old letter from the City of Tempe. The superior
court affirmed the denial of the application, and we affirm
the superior court's judgment.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act limits the number of
marijuana dispensaries across the state to not more than one
per ten registered pharmacies. Ariz. Rev. Stat.
("A.R.S.") § 36-2804(C) (2018). The Department
first accepted dispensary registration applications and
issued dispensary certificates in 2012. Waltz Healing Center,
Inc. applied for a certificate then but did not receive one.
The Department later determined it could issue 31 more
certificates and opened another application process in July
the law, dispensary certificate applications must contain
certain information, including the physical address of the
proposed dispensary, and:
[i]f the city, town or county in which the nonprofit medical
marijuana dispensary would be located has enacted zoning
restrictions, a sworn statement certifying that the
registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary is in
compliance with the restrictions.
A.R.S. § 36-2804(B)(1)(d). By regulation, applicants
must comply with the zoning-documentation requirement by
providing the following:
Documentation from the local jurisdiction where the
dispensary's proposed physical address is located that:
a. There are no local zoning restrictions for the
dispensary's location, or
b. The dispensary's location is in compliance with any
local zoning restrictions.
Ariz. Admin. Code ("A.A.C.") R9-17-304(C)(6).
See Compassionate Care Dispensary, Inc. v. Ariz.
Dep't of Health Servs., 244 Ariz. 205, 213, ¶
21 (App. 2018).
When the Department opened the 2016 application process,
Waltz submitted an application for a service area located in
Tempe. With its application, Waltz submitted a letter dated
May 8, 2012, from a senior planner in the Tempe Community
Development Department, Planning Division. The letter, which
was on City letterhead, stated in relevant part:
For the purpose of zoning clearance, the City of Tempe . . .
has determined the site . . . is in compliance with the
Zoning and Development Code . . . for a ...