In November 2010, the people of Arizona passed Prop 203, legalizing Medical Grand Rapids Marijuana Dispensary. This was the 3rd time marijuana’s medicinal usage has actually passed in AZ. It is appearing as if the third time is the charm, however, as the Arizona Department of Health Services is placing Rules and Regulations into place at the end of March 2011 for Dispensaries and Patient ID cards.
What are the rules for Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensaries? Applications for obtaining a medical marijuana dispensary are being accepted starting in May 2011. The AZ Department of Health Services plans to allocate these dispensary certificates based on an analysis of Community Health Analysis Areas.
These Community Health Analysis Areas were created in 2005 to align with growing rural and urban areas. In highly urban areas, a CHAA contains 100,000 people. In a rural CHAA the population is about 10,000 people. Each county in Arizona will have at least one dispensary. If only one complete application is received for a dispensary for any particular CHAA, then it’s approved. If any CHAA has multiple completed applications, a random selection process will occur.
To open a dispensary, the applicants must pass a background check, be over 21, and have been Arizona residents for the past three years. Each dispensary must employ or contract with a medical director. The medical director cannot provide written certifications for marijuana and must provide training to the staff along with providing educational materials/information to qualifying patients and caregivers.
For the whole state of Arizona, 124 licenses will be given out. It appears there may be close to 5,000 applications for those licenses. At least one will be given out for each Arizona county. The state would like to track the inventory from seed to cultivation to dispensary to patient. That will hopefully minimize marijuana from being siphoned into the world of drug dealers.
Each Arizona dispensary will be required to cultivate and grow their own marijuana. Initially the Rules stated 100%, but the latest states 70% so dispensaries will be able to purchase 30% from approved growers, patients, caregivers, or other dispensaries. The 70% being grown must be on-site in an enclosed area and there will be specific provisions regarding the security in place at the dispensary.
Dispensaries must be non-profit entities. This means profits cannot be distributed to the owners, simply the salaries that are set. At this point, it appears Arizona will be specifically limiting the salaries that can be received.
Qualifying patients with an Arizona Medical Marijuana Registry ID card may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from a certified, licensed dispensary. If there is no dispensary open within 25 miles of the patient, that patient can grow his or her own marijuana. Patients will not be allowed to consume marijuana at the dispensary. Arizona Dispensaries will be able to sell edible food products infused with marijuana as long as the dispensaries comply with specific preparation regulations and they are labeled to show the specific marijuana content.
There will be set costs for the initial registration of a dispensary ($5000), renewals ($1000), and a cost for changing the location of a dispensary ($2500). The objective of the Arizona Dept of Health Services is for dispensaries to provide information as well as marijuana. Educational materials will need to be provided for patients about drug interactions, safe usage, and information about substance abuse programs.