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Recreational Marijuana Sales at Arizona Dispensaries Could Start Next Week

Dispensaries have begun applying online for new licenses and Arizona’s medicinal marijuana shops could be selling for adult recreational use in a week.

They get new FBI background checks and send $25,000 checks to Arizona’s Department of Health Services as part of the process.

“The health department already knows all of us,” said Lilach Mazor Power, owner of Giving Tree Dispensary in north Phoenix. “If we’re in good standing as a medical facility, everything should work fine for adult use.”

Next week, her shop is moving to a bigger location.

“We are expanding our cultivation, our manufacturing, our logistics, our packaging — everything is growing,” Power said.

She is also hiring 16 new people. Power expects a tripling in sales as Arizonans get more access — and more comfortable — with marijuana.

“Everybody realized that cannabis is safe, and that it’s safer than a lot of other things we put in our bodies,” Power said.

Power says more people are using cannabis to calm down — like they would with a glass of wine — during the pandemic.

In November, Arizona voters approved Prop 207 to legalize sales and possession of one ounce or less for non-medicinal purposes for people ages 21 and up.

Power expects all 120 of Arizona’s medicinal marijuana shops to become licensed for recreational use. Only a dozen new licenses are available outside of that.

“There are 50-100 groups out there that have scouring the county areas, and are well financed with lawyers, application specialists, and realtors that are going to be applying over the next few weeks,” said Demitri Downing, founder of the Arizona Marijuana Industry Trade Association.

He also reports existing dispensaries are having an easy time applying for new licenses.

“The Department of Health Services deserves all the credit in the world,” Downing said. “They’re navigating COVID and they’re turning the medicinal marijuana market and industry into an adult-use marketplace as we speak. It’s a pretty big lift.”

Downing calls the state’s $25,000 application fee “a drop in the bucket” for dispensaries anticipating large spikes in sales.

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