This has been a historic week for Arizona medical marijuana supporters who finally got to see the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary open for business. Arizona voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana two years ago. And Tuesday, after the lengthy court battle challenge that followed, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon ruled that the law does not conflict with federal drug laws, clearing the way for dispensaries to open without facing the fear of state prosecution.
On Thursday, Arizona Organix finally opened in Glendale and served more than 250 patients, who can buy up to 2½ ounces of medical marijuana every two weeks to treat ailments ranging from chronic pain to cancer. Arizona Organix is not currently operating their own grow system, and instead relying on caregivers who donate their excess marijuana supply. They eventually plan to cultivate marijuana in a separate warehouse to add to the supply. With more than 33,000 people in Arizona holding medical marijuana cards, the demand far exceeds the supply and this is just the first of many dispensaries to come. Almost 100 dispensaries have been approved by the Arizona Department of Health Services to grow and sell medical marijuana if they complete the steps for approval.
In fact, a dispensary in Tucson is expected to open later this month. And ADHS Director Will Humble said a handful of other potential dispensaries have requested inspections that will eventually lead to further openings. While Arizona Organix has established itself as a boutique-like experience for patients, with artwork on the walls and polished concrete floors, dispensaries will vary as more open around the state. For example, some will offer wellness programs while others will offer edibles – cookies, candy, brownies and the like – made with marijuana.