State's first medical marijuana dispensary will open

December 06, 2012

Arizona’s first medical marijuana dispensary is scheduled to open Thursday morning in Glendale.This comes after a Maricopa County Superior court decision earlier this week cleared the way. The Arizona Marijuana Medical Act was approved by voters in the 2010 election. State authorities have challenged the constitutionality of the law in court. State Health Director Will Humble explains how it will work.

"Anyone who is a medical marijuana card holder in this state, and there are 33,000 right now, would be authorized to go into that dispensary, you know and buy marijuana for their medical use. The statute allows the dispensary to sell two and a half ounces every two weeks to every customer, but I suspect that limit will be lower at least initially," Humble said.

Humble says the dispensaries will be closely watched. 

"Inventory, controls around security around data collection, submitting the sales to our IT database. I mean it's a 10-page inspection form. It's a lot of requirements. Our inspections will be geared toward finding out if they are operating under our prescribed regulations," Humble said.

Humble says nearly a hundred registration certificates were issued in August, which allowed dispensary owners to move ahead with plans. Before the dispensaries can open though they must have the plans approved by the health department. Humble says so far only two dispensaries have been authorized, one in Glendale and one in Tucson. 

 Even though state law allows marijuana for medical use, it is still a federal law to possess, sale or use marijuana. Eighteen states have passed laws allowing the use of medical marijuana.

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