N4T Investigators: Dispensary debate | KVOA.com


TUCSON – Tom Cox is a devout Buddhist but also an innocent bystander in a dispensary debate.

Cox’s East Lester street household is adorned with Buddhist decorations. It is also the concentrate of a flyer not too long ago mailed to residents calling Cox’s household a church. Cox considers his household a church and says about six folks pray there periodically.

By city ordinance, a church should be “a minimum of one particular-thousand feet from a health-related marijuana dispensary.” A dispensary named “The Prime Leaf” plans to open close to Cox’s household.

Pima County tax records list the residence as a key residence. Tucson’s Board of Adjustment voted six- that Cox’s household, which also is an Airbnb, is not a church. This cleared the way for “The Prime Leaf.”

The flyer says, “Buddhism is not a religion in the City of Tucson.” It includes pictures of Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Councilmen Paul Durham and Steve Kozachik.

The new dispensary would be in Durham’s ward. He told the News four Tucson Investigators, “The flyer is complete of produced-up details.”

Rothschild mentioned, “I’ve discovered that it is extra critical to function on points that are constructive than to stew about folks who are attempting to be destructive.”

Kozachik told us, “The folks at Downtown Dispensary ought to be ashamed for working with religious bigotry as a ruse for a competitor, for stopping a competitor from getting capable to open. That is all this was.”

Durham mentioned, “Moe Asnani from “The Downtown Dispensary” is behind it all and he does not want the competitors.”

We asked Asnani, “Are you afraid of “Prime Leaf” opening up just a tiny more than a mile from right here?” He mentioned, “I have no worry of Prime Leaf.”

Right after Asnani mentioned he has no worry about the news dispensary, he sent us many emails, implying that it shouldn’t open since a college is nearby. Chapel Haven West is certainly a college and only 500 feet away from the new Prime Leaf.

Even so, Zoning Administrator Russlyn Wells pointed us to city zoning code which states, “A health-related marijuana dispensary shall be setback a minimum of 1,000 feet from a K-12…school.” Chapel Haven West, a private, particular ed college, begins at 12th grade. Wells told the News four Tucson Investigators, “It does not meet city standards” requiring a setback.

Whilst Asnani claims he has no worry of “The Prime Leaf,” whoever sent the flyer disapproves. The flyer says “The Prime Leaf” is “violating” the law.  Asnani denies he’s behind it.

The News four Tucson Investigators asked Asnani about the flyer. “Who ordered it?,” we asked. He replied, “I do not know.” The flyer’s return address says it came from a group named “Citizens for Religious Freedom.” We asked Asnani, “Do you know who they are?” He mentioned, “I have no notion.” We asked, “Did you employ anyone to do this (send the flyer)? He mentioned, “I did not.”

The flyer’s return address lists a group named “Citizens for Religious Freedom” with a Phoenix post workplace box. We couldn’t locate any such group but traced the P.O. box to a group named “Conserv (sic) America Constructing a Brighter Future.Collectively.” Its treasurer is listed as Gibson McKay. He is also Moe Asnani’s lobbyist.

The News four Tucson Investigators asked Asnani, “Did your lobbyist place out a flyer without the need of your permission?” He mentioned, “Not to my understanding.” We asked, “You didn’t ask him to do it?” “I did not,” he mentioned. We followed up: “Are you saying you didn’t know about this flyer till it went out?” “Exactly,” he answered. We asked, “You had absolutely nothing to do with it?” “ “I did not,” he mentioned.

Asnani alleges a conspiracy by the mayor and two councilmen since “The Prime Leaf” is co-owned by a former councilman. Even so, the city council did not vote on this.

The flyer also says a dispensary can not open close to Cope Behavioral Solutions,” calling it a “drug therapy facility.” But the city mentioned Cope, “does not meet the definition of a licensed residential substance abuse facility.”

“The Prime Leaf” currently has a further dispensary in Tucson. Its co-owner Brian Warde was asked what he would say about the flyer to the owner of “The Downtown Dispensary.” “I do not have something to say him,” Warde told us. “What I will say is I will let the public and the individuals and the neighborhood make a decision what that appears like.”

Asnani mentioned, “My concern is that we’re applying these zoning requirements equally for all religions.”
But once again, the city disagrees. “The Prime Leaf” has a Certificate of Occupancy is scheduled to open its new dispensary on N. Park Ave. subsequent month.

If you have a story you’d like us to investigate, e mail us at [email protected] or get in touch with our tip line at 520-955-4444.


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