Tempe eyes pot dispensary expansion

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Buying pot could soon get a lot more convenient for medical marijuana users in Tempe.

The City Council this month will consider greatly expanding the number of pot dispensaries from 2 to 13.

The potential expansion comes as Arizonans have warmed up to the idea of using cannabis.

In 2010, voters approved the legal use of medical marijuana and last year the state nearly passed a ballot measure legalizing the use of recreation pot.

Regardless, Tempe has sought to limit the number of dispensaries to one on the north side of town and another on the south side.

Former Councilwoman Onnie Shekerkjian wants to keep it that way.

She believes that opening up more dispensaries will give underage children greater access to the drug.

"What they are now finding is that for the vast majority of kids that their first experience wit marijuana is no longer with their friends it's from a dispensary," she said Saturday.

Surveys by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission show overall teen use has dropped since 2010, when voters legalized medicinal marijuana.

The City Council is scheduled to take up the issue April 20, which happens to represent an unofficial holiday of sorts for pot smokers.

Should the city approve of the expansion, there would be restrictions on where dispensaries could set up shop.

The city would prohibit dispensaries from opening within a half-mile of each other, a school, or a church.

In addition, they could not open within 500 feet of a residential neighborhood.

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

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