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Arizona Could Soon Have More Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Medical marijuana
(Photo by Mark - CC BY 2.0)
Medical marijuana.

New medical marijuana dispensaries could be coming to Arizona with the health department set to approve new applications for only the second time.

Right now there are 99 dispensaries in Arizona, but there could be about two dozen more approved this summer. Tom Salow is with the Arizona Department of Health Services, which runs the state’s medical marijuana program. He said the department will give preference to applications for dispensaries in counties that don’t have one, as well as dispensaries that can serve the greatest number of patients in a 10-mile radius.

"This isn’t a merit-based application process," he said. "If you’re in compliance, you go on to the next step."

Salow said part of being in compliance is submitting finger prints, a business plan and the $5,000 application fee, most of which is non-refundable. 

"Our medical marijuana homepage will have a lot of information about the application, a checklist of what to expect," he said. "It will hopefully be a one-stop shop, so a lot of the questions the public has will be answered then and there."

Salow said the department has not yet decided how many dispensaries to add, but will allow one for every 10 licensed pharmacies in the state. That ratio was dictated by the 2010 law that legalized medical pot.

Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.