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Judge orders Maricopa County to pay attorney fees of medical pot dispensary

PHOENIX -- A judge is ordering Maricopa County to pay $190,000 for attorney fees incurred by a Sun City medical marijuana dispensary operator.

The dispensary successfully challenged the county's refusal to provide zoning clearance for the facility.

Superior Court Judge Michael D. Gordon also ordered the county to pay $3,700 in other legal costs borne by White Mountain Health Center Inc. plus a $5,000 penalty for trying to impose a blanket prohibition on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Gordon previously ruled in White Mountain's lawsuit that the county wasn't in compliance with Arizona's voter-approved law on medical marijuana.

The county is appealing Gordon's ruling that dispensaries are allowed despite federal laws against marijuana trafficking.

Since that ruling, the county in January approved a new ordinance allowing dispensaries in commercial zones and cultivation sites in industrial zones.

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