By Nick Worth
A medical marijuana dispensary is set to open in Holbrook, according to Assistant City Manager and Finance Director Randy Sullivan.
Sullivan said the business, called Natural Herbal Remedies, Inc. (NHR), will be located in the old Pow Wow Trading Post building owned by Albert Reyes on the southeast corner of Florida Street and Navajo Blvd.
Sullivan said he met with Sheelah Golliglee to sign off on the zoning for the dispensary.
“When I showed her the available buildings in town, the Pow Wow building really stood out,” Sullivan said. He said NHR needs to modify the building to meet the state codes for a medical marijuana dispensary and that the electrical system in the building was not up to code.
“The building is being remodeled,” Sullivan said. “It’s going to look nice. It will be nice for the community to have that building fixed up.”
Sullivan said City Manager Ray Alley and he wanted the business on a main road in town so that it could be easily monitored.
“We zoned it to a certain area,” Sullivan said of the Pow Wow’s commercial C-2 zoning. “We didn’t want it near a school or a church.”
Holbrook City Ordinance No. 11-02 specifies a commercial C-2, or industrial I-1 or I-2 zoning for medical marijuana dispensaries, and also specifies the business cannot be located in a residential area, or within 500 feet of a public park, a school or another medical marijuana dispensary. Sullivan said the Pow Wow meets all those criteria.
“Originally, when this first happened, we didn’t want it,” Sullivan said. He said Holbrook Police Chief Mark Jackson researched the medical marijuana law and found that if there is no dispensary within 25 miles of a patient’s home, they are allowed to grow their own marijuana.
“Chief Jackson had concerns about monitoring people who were growing their own marijuana, so we decided it would be better to actually push to get a dispensary in town,” said Sullivan. “We want to be able to control it.”
When the Navajo County Board of Supervisors granted a special use permit for a marijuana dispensary to Overgaard Compassion Care last month, one of the restrictions placed on the business concerned the type of signage to be used. The sign could not make any reference to marijuana and even the color green was not allowed.
Sullivan said restrictions are not in place for signage on the dispensary going in the Pow Wow building.
“It will be whatever the existing sign code is for the city,” he said.
Legally, the state Department of Health Services cannot release the identity of a dispensary license holder, but Natural Herbal Remedies is registered as a non-profit corporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The articles of incorporation specify the corporation was formed for the purpose of operating a medical marijuana dispensary. The president of record is Kurt Heinrich of Payson and the vice president is Jason Parkinson of Scottsdale.
Golliglee is not listed in connection with NHR on the ACC listing, however she and Heinrich are listed, along with Tanya Heglie, in an ACC listing for Nature’s Nutrition and Wellness, LLC, which shared the same Payson address as NHR currently holds.
According to the ACC website, Nature’s Nutrition and Wellness, LLC was terminated on March 8, 2013.
Golliglee was a former member of the Arizona Naturopathic Physicians Medical Board, appointed by Governor Jan Brewer. She was removed from the board when it was discovered she had business ties with Dr. Robert L. Gear Jr., another member of the board and a doctor who served as a consultant for Nature’s Harvest.
Navajo County Attorney Brad Carlyon said Golliglee is the owner of Nature’s Harvest, a “compassion club” with stores in Payson and Show Low.
Golliglee and Gear were arrested on Feb. 8 following a six-month investigation. The investigation began after Navajo County authorities received a report that Golliglee was charging a $65 fee to medical marijuana cardholders who purchased their marijuana at her businesses in Payson, and Show Low. According to a Feb. 12 article in the Payson Roundup, she has denied any wrongdoing.
Carlyon said the Nature’s Nutrition and Wellness, LLC was terminated because the corporation was also charged when Golliglee was arrested.
“Now their attorneys are using that termination to move for dismissal,” Carlyon said.
He described compassion clubs as a way people were using to try to get around the medical marijuana law.
“Under the medical marijuana law, caregivers can grow and dispense marijuana to up to five people,” Carlyon said. He verified that Golliglee is being charged in Navajo County Superior Court.
“She is being charged and she has a case management conference on May 17,” Carlyon said.
Along with Golliglee, co-defendants Stacy Johanna Palace and Gear, as well as her company Nature’s Harvest, are being charged in the case.
Golliglee’s charges include participating in a criminal syndicate and sale of marijuana (less than two pounds). Palace is charged with sale of marijuana (less than two pounds). The business Nature’s Harvest is charged with two counts each of sale of a narcotic drug and sale of marijuana (less than two pounds). Gear is charged with fraudulent schemes and artifices, and forgery for allegedly issuing a medical marijuana card to an undercover officer without asking to see her medical records.
“While I disagree with the medical marijuana law, it is the law,” said Carlyon. “People who comply with the law will have no problems with this office.
“If she had been a licensed dispensary, she would not be in court,” Carlyon said.
Navajo County Sheriff KC Clark said his office was not aware of Golliglee’s involvement in the Holbrook dispensary.
“The bottom line on this medical marijuana is that the people passed it,” Clark said. “We enforce the laws, we don’t make them.
“If they open it (the dispensary) and it’s legal and they go by the law, there’s not much we can do,” Clark said.
Neither Golliglee nor Heinrichs could be reached for comment.
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By Nick Worth