Arizona residents who are waiting to enter the cannabis industry may soon be able to apply for a dispensary license. According to an announcement from Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS), the organization will accept dispensary registration certification applications between July 18-29.
At the moment, 99 out of 126 dispensary licenses have been released to qualified candidates (92 are currently operational). Officials will make 31 medical cannabis dispensary licenses available; and based on the rapid growth of the industry, individuals can expect fierce competition for the remaining open slots.
“There are approximately 95,000 patients in Arizona’s medical marijuana program. Nearly all patients live within 25-miles of a dispensary, which means they cannot legally cultivate marijuana and therefore must purchase it from Arizona dispensaries,” said Dan Kingston from AZ Marijuana, a website dedicated to the development of the state’s cannabis community.
Dispensary License Registration Requirements
The AZDHS dispensary registration process is strictly regulated, and designed to weed out applicants who aren’t serious about contributing to the local medical marijuana sector. Initially, the state requires applicants to have a minimum of $150,000 in capital from an in-state or out-of-state financial institution. Green Rush Consulting, a firm that specializes in legal cannabis businesses, recommends a minimum capitalization of $500,000, with projected build-out costs reaching $250,000. Proof of capitalization and ownership of the required amount must be presented 30 days before the submission of the application.
Acquiring the necessary funds to start a dispensary is usually where most applicants struggle, because mainstream banks have taken a conservative stance on backing cannabis businesses. Because of this, most individuals resort to angel investors, and third-party loan services. In addition to start-up capital, applicants are required to shoulder a $5,000 filing fee ($1,000 is refundable for complete applications that were not awarded with a registration certificate).
The principal officer or board member must be cited in the application, and officials will conduct a background check to verify that the individual has not been convicted of a felony offense. Prospective candidates must also attach their business plan with the application. The applicant should be at least 21 years old, and an Arizona resident for three consecutive years before the date of the application.
November 2016 Ballot
Arizona legal marijuana advocates have collected roughly 215,000 signatures as of May 18, 2016; which is over the required 150,000 signatures to get the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act on the November 2016 ballot. If passed, the initiative would allow adults over the age of 21 to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis for private consumption. The measure will also establish the Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to oversee the growth of the industry.
“Adults of all ages and political stripes want to vote for this in November 2016,” said the campaign chairman. “We are excited by the outpouring of support. This is the right initiative at the right time.”