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Arizona To Issue Additional Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses

by Faith Fidura June 12, 2019

Senate Bill 1494 Will Make Improvements to Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Program, License Additional Dispensaries  

On June 7, 2019, Senate Bill 1494 passed into law to make improvements in the state’s medical marijuana program. Medical marijuana advocates and businesses are thrilled, as the state has not made changes or additions to its medical program since 2016. The new law will make the following changes:

  • Require the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to establish testing laboratory licenses and create standards for third-party labs to test azblogimagemedical marijuana grown in the state for contaminates and toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Until now, marijuana businesses were not required to test their products before being sold to patients. Testing results must become available to patients from marijuana businesses by November 1, 2020.
  • Extend patient card validity from one year to two years, and make electronic patients cards available by December 1, 2019.
  • Establish priority licensing for additional non-profit dispensaries based on geographic areas where a previous dispensary moved from and is 25 miles from another dispensary. Dispensary licenses are to be awarded April 1, 2020.

The passing of this bill comes shortly after another major win for Arizona’s medical marijuana program, and that was the Arizona Supreme Court ruling made on May 28, 2019 that stated cannabis extracts – including concentrates, vaporizer cartridges and infused food and beverages – are legal and the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries can sell them. 

The ruling came after a 2016 conviction and sentencing of Rodney Jones, a registered medical marijuana patient who was found in possession of a jar containing 0.05 of an ounce of hashish in 2013. The ruling has lifted concern off of licensed medical marijuana businesses who sell extracts and other registered patients who consume them.

Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Details

As stated above, the new law establishes priority licensing for additional Dispensary Registration Certificates based on geographic areas where a previous dispensary moved from and is 25 miles from another dispensary. A Dispensary Registration Certificate is a non-profit dispensary license that allows a licensee to grow, process and sell medical marijuana to patients.

The application fee for a Dispensary Registration Certificate is $5,000. If a Dispensary Registration Certificate application is complete and the applicant is not allocated a Dispensary Registration certificate, the applicant will be refunded $1,000 of the $5,000 application fee. The application fee is not refundable in other circumstances, including an applicant withdrawing the application. 

The Application Process:

The next allocation process for a Dispensary Registration Certificate will follow these criteria:

1. Beginning on April 1, 2020, the Department shall issue all new nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary registration certificates in the following order of priority based on the dispensary's geographic area as described in the registration certificate application:

    1. The geographic area had a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary move from the geographic area and the geographic area is at least twenty‑five miles from another dispensary that has been issued a dispensary registration certificate.
      • If the Department receives multiple applications from previously approved nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary locations, the department shall approve the certificate for the application that serves the most qualifying patients within five miles of the proposed dispensary location.
    2. The geographic area is at least twenty‑five miles from another dispensary that has been issued a dispensary registration certificate.
      • If the department receives multiple applications or if there are no applications from previously approved dispensary locations, the department may issue the registration certificate by random drawing.
 2. A nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary that receives a registration certificate on or after April 1, 2020 must open the dispensary at the approved location within eighteen months after the application is approved or the registration certificate becomes invalid.

3. A nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary that is issued a registration certificate may relocate only as follows:
    1. If the dispensary is located within a city or town, only within that city or town.
    2. If the dispensary is located within an unincorporated area, only within the unincorporated area of the county where the dispensary is located but not within twenty‑five miles from another dispensary that has been issued a dispensary registration certificate.

 

Want to Apply for an Arizona Dispensary License?

ArizonaIf you plan on applying for a Dispensary Registration Certificate in Arizona during this upcoming opportunity, it’s best to begin preparing now. Applicants will be required to submit, as part of their application, the following plans: Inventory Control, Patient Education, Record Keeping and Security.

To begin drafting your required plans with confidence, download our Arizona Dispensary Application Template Package. The package includes templates for the all of the required plans listed above. The templates were designed by subject matter experts, consultant’s best practices, and winning application materials for marijuana business licenses.

Get the Package