Parents meet over proposed medical marijuana dispensary next to preschool

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Grace Garden Christian Preschool has been in its same location in Ahwatukee for 14 years. The director said she does not want a medical marijuana dispensary opening up next to their playground. 

Related: Pot next to a preschool? Your tax dollars are defending the state

"The location where it's being placed is not ok," said Grace Garden Christian Preschool director Catherine Thomson. She said, after hearing from her neighbor about his plan to open a dispensary next door, she does not understand why the state would grant them a license. 

"He told me, 'You do realize we're just going to be a medical marijuana dispensary,'" Thomson said.

While state law mandates medical marijuana dispensaries have to be at least 500 feet from any school, The Arizona Department of Health Services considers Grace Garden a daycare.

"We're a preschool, we're not a daycare," Thomson said.

Thomson said she thought the laws would protect them. 

"Oh, you can't be near a school, but hey, you can be near children that can't protect themselves?" Thomson asked.

"We already have a dispensary less than half a mile from here," said Katrina Barringer. She told us her kids go to school across the street, and she doesn't want the dispensary to open there, either. 

"These zoning ordinances were put in place for a reason," Barringer said. 

Meanwhile, an attorney has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to freeze this license and the 30 others that the state allocated in October. There's a hearing February 23. 

We tried to get ahold of the owner or whoever is behind this application. We have not been successful. The city of Phoenix would also need to give their stamp of approval, and that ordinance does mention nearby daycares, but they could get an exemption. 

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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