Arizona Dept. of Health opens dispensary applications, recreational marijuana sales could start soon

Recreational marijuana sales can start as early as this week and on Jan. 19, the Arizona Department of Health Services opened up applications for dispensaries to get licensed.

The Giving Tree Dispensary has been waiting for this moment since they opened about seven years ago. They're moving locations down the road to make it easier for both recreational buyers and medical marijuana patients to get their product.

It's all smiles at Giving Tree in the Deer Valley area.

"I woke up early and applied," said Giving Tree's CEO, Lilach Mazor Power.

The Giving Tree is getting their staff ready for the big day. Currently 47 people are employed and by the end of the year, they expect to have nearly 90 employees.

The CEO says with recreational marijuana becoming legal in Arizona, she is making more room for her dual license.

"We want to make sure that we have a designated cashier for our current patients so that when they come in, they want to get in and out and get their medicine the way they're used to.. designated line just for them," explained Power.

AZDHS says more than 40 dispensaries have applied since the morning of Jan. 19. It's not confirming how soon recreational marijuana could be ready for sale but says it's are moving applications through the system as promptly as possible. 

Sam Richards with the Arizona Dispensaries Association says it's the start of a new chapter for the marijuana industry in our state as nearly 130 dispensaries are expected to have dual licenses.

"For counties across the state that have fewer than two dispensaries, currently individuals can apply to put in a marijuana establishment in one of those counties. The actual number is still unknown because it has to do with how many are available at the time, but we expect 10 to 20."

The number of licenses given are limited, in accordance with Prop 207.


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