Tag Archives: medical marijuana dispensaries

Arizona Medical Marijuana Program

Arizona Medical Marijuana Program Dispensary Application Simplified

Over the past nine months, the dispensary application portion of the Arizona Medical Marijuana program has been on hold. As early as April 2012, applications will be accepted under certain conditions.

Only landlords with properly zoned locations that are not near schools, churches, public parks, daycare centers and other prohibited areas will be qualified to apply using a dispensary location form provided by Arizona Dispensary Solutions.

Here are some examples of zoning requirements codified by local municipalities:

  • City of Phoenix — C-2 (Commercial)
  • City of Scottsdale — I-1 (Industrial preferred)
  • City of Tucson — C-2 and C-3 (Commercial)
  • Pima County — CB-2, CI-1, CI-2 and CI-3 (Commercial and industrial)
  • Marana — RC, LI and HI (Commercial & Industrial)

Dispensary licenses are awarded using a health zone known as a CHAA (Community Health Analysis Area). Currently, Arizona has 126 CHAAs, but many of them fall on Native American reservations where dispensaries are not allowed. As for the remaining CHAAs, dispensary operators should be able to show an operating capital of $150,000 per application, as well as upfront rent payments, application fees and consulting fees.

In addition to this, a complete and compliant dispensary application must include patient record-keeping policies, cultivation plans, inventory control processes and systems, patient education materials, security plan and a nonprofit business plan.

The cost of creating an application depends on the amount of work done by the consultative service provider as well as the time frame in which it must be completed. The starting fee for customized applications is $10,000. A successful application will show the dispensary location as a patient-centric wellness center rather than a marijuana shop.

Landlords with a prospective applicant should not only verify the financial stability of their clientele, but also the business plan and materials of the applicant. The next set of DHS rules will eliminate disclosures of bankruptcy and financial delinquency, meaning landlords may have to conduct due diligence.

Arizona Dispensary Solutions values client confidentiality and can be contacted at (480) 442-0190.
For more information, visit arizonadispense.com.


weGrow Phoenix Opens, Cultivating Opportunities In Arizona

weGrow Phoenix – As interest in the medical marijuana industry increases, weGrow offers franchisees a chance to be a part of it.

The demand for Medical marijuana is growing across the state. And with the law of supply and demand being what it is, the number of applications for franchises selling products to help cultivate the crop soared immediately following the legalization of medical marijuana in Arizona.weGrow Phoenix, Dhar Mann

“Before I even knew the state of Arizona passed the law, I was getting franchise application after franchise application on my iPhone, and I thought something in Arizona must have happened to trigger this kind of response,” says Dhar Mann, founder and CEO of weGrow, a chain of hydroponic supply stores. “And that’s when I found out Arizona went legal.”

In fact, weGrow sold out all of its franchise rights for stores they plan on opening in the next three to four years, with Arizona franchisees submitting about 10 percent of the total applications.

WeGrow held its grand opening in Phoenix, the state’s first location, in June. Since then, the store’s franchisee, Sunny Singh, decided to open more locations across the state, purchasing six additional stores in Arizona.

“Singh represented the brand very well, and we had a very positive reaction to the opening of the Phoenix location of weGrow,” Mann says. “There are a lot of people interested in getting into the medical marijuana industry without the risk of growing the plants, which weGrow allows them to do.”

So far, it weGrow plans to open a store in Flagstaff by October, and another store in Tucson by the end of the year, Mann says.

Mann also says that Arizona was the right market to open a weGrow store, not only because Phoenix is one of the largest metropolitan cities in the nation, but also because “weGrow’s business model specializes in areas where there’s high demand, but low information. Our cornerstones are built on education, training and learning.”

WeGrow offers classes, technician services and the ability to see the entire supply chain process, which Mann says excited patients who use medical marijuana.

“We’ve had a lot of new patients walk into the store wanting to start their very first garden,” Mann says. “There are no other hydroponic stores in the state right now where they can talk about medical marijuana cultivation.”

In addition to the educational aspects of the store, weGrow provides anywhere between 15 and 20 full- and part-time jobs. But Mann says it’s the ancillary jobs created that make a difference, including hiring a doctor on site for medical marijuana evaluations; professors to teach classes, including technicians and experienced growers; design and construction positions; security positions, and distributors. About 75 indirect jobs are created with the opening of each weGrow store.

Mann says weGrow and the marijuana industry could have a profound economic impact on Arizona, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue, even with a 10 percent sales tax. In California alone, medical marijuana is a $14 billion dollar industry, he says.

“If the government would think about all of the benefits that legalization could bring from the dollar point of view, there’s not only sales tax, but there’s also the jobs, real estate that’s bought and the property taxes, the increase expenditures from people buying locally as well as people that are now employed spending more,” Mann says. “It creates a lot of economic dovetails that can be very positive for the state.”

Mann says weGrow pushes for more regulation because it wants the industry to “get out of the shadows and into the light.”

For those interested in investing, or for more information about weGrow Phoenix, visit www.wegrowstore.com or call (602) 278-9988.

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weGrow: inDevelopment

weGrow has recently filmed a pilot episode in Phoenix and Sacramento, Calif., for a reality television show that the company is in the process of pitching to a network. The show will follow medical marijuana patients, including cancer patients, as they sustain their health and build grow rooms. It will highlight the health benefits of cannabis as well as depict what it means to them, according to Mann.



Medical Marijuana, AZRE Magazine May/June 2011

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Operators Deal With Regulations, Landlords

Don’t look for medical marijuana dispensaries to pop up next door to your neighborhood drug store anytime soon.

Cities are wrestling with a host of issues to determine where the new businesses can set up shop, even as the Arizona Department of Health Services tries to figure out who can operate them and who can use them.

After publishing preliminary guidelines, followed by a period of public comment, ADHS issued start-up regulations on March 28.

The state agency divided Arizona into 126 community health analysis areas, or CHAAs, based on population density. The agency will issue a maximum of 124 dispensary licenses, with no more than one license within a CHAA, says Will Humble, ADHS director.

State regulators will start taking applications on June 1 and will dole out licenses starting in August after vetting the sites and the potential business owners, Humble said.

If more than one acceptable application is submitted within a CHAA’s boundaries, a lottery will decide who gets the license, he added. The first dispensary in the state could debut by fall. Humble said he expects to issue 90 to 100 licenses within the first full year of start-up. After that, ADHS will revisit the rules to determine if some tweaking is necessary.

“By the end of a year, we’ll know where the qualified patients are,” he says.

Proposed dispensary sites must comply with the zoning requirements of the municipalities they fall into, so cities have been scrambling to get zoning in place and start vetting potential locations, otherwise, they risk the state issuing licenses in unsuitable areas, says Thomas Ritz, Glendale senior planner.

Glendale passed zoning guidelines on Feb. 22, and the rules are similar to those of most cities in regard to type of site, such as office or industrial. In addition, a dispensary must be 1,320 feet from schools, 500 feet from residences, and one mile from another dispensary, Ritz says.

Scottsdale will allow medical marijuana dispensaries on campuses, and within 2,000 feet of another dispensary. Tucson will allow them to do business in retail centers, as long as they are the required distance from schools and residences.

Tucson, among the first off the block to embrace the new businesses, completed its zoning rules in November, says Craig Gross, Tucson’s deputy director for planning and development. But Gross pointed out the complexities of working within the state’s guidelines.

Tucson has 10 CHAAs within its city limits, he added, but because CHAAs are based on population density irrespective of municipality boundaries, nearly all are partly in other cities, towns or even unincorporated county land.

“That makes it interesting,” Gross says.

Tucson has a handful of applications and a dozen or so serious inquiries in some stage of processing, Gross said, but he doesn’t know if there are sites also in process by other government agencies for the same CHAAs.

And in Scottsdale, which houses two CHAAs but has about the same number of applicants or pre-applicants in the pipeline as Tucson, most of its potential operators are opting for the Scottsdale Airpark area, says Kira Wauwie, project coordinator for the city’s dispensary rollout.

Meanwhile, Glendale is bracing for a deluge of dispensary operator wannabees.

“We had a neighborhood meeting, and we had about 35 people learning, listening — a healthy stream of people asking questions,” Ritz says. “We’ll see how many turn in applications.”

But first those hopeful applicants have to snag sites that conform to state and city regulations. And even in this high-vacancy real estate market, potential landlords are leery of housing dispensaries.

“I’m surprised that individuals are finding it tough to get into a building they like,” Gross says. “Property owners don’t necessarily want to rent to them.”

Arizona real estate brokers confirm that many building owners are reluctant to lease space for dispensaries, despite the numerous hoops the potential business owners need to jump through to get a license.

Gross says building owners are slow to the table because the process is so new, and he thinks more will opt in now that ADHS rules have been set in stone — or at least for a year.

For more information about medical marijuana dispensaries, visit the Arizona Department of Health Services’ website at azdhs.gov.

AZRE Magazine May/June 2011


Medical Marijuana Where Will The Dispensaries Go

Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Proposition Passes, But Where Will The Dispensaries Go?

Arizona voters made history again this month, narrowly approving Proposition 203, the ballot initiative allowing one medical marijuana dispensary for every 10 pharmacies in the state (which translates to about 120 statewide). Under Prop. 203, patients suffering from a wide range of painful medical conditions will be able to buy small amounts of marijuana from state-approved dispensaries with a doctor’s prescription. Those living more than 25 miles from an outlet will be allowed to grow their own.

Needless to say, residents, cities and landlords are facing some interesting dilemmas before the first outlets potentially open in March 2011 … in a neighborhood near you.

Under the approved Prop. 203, the Arizona Department of Health Services must issue licenses to the so-called “medical marijuana clinics,” but it’s the local municipalities that must adopt zoning restrictions that regulate the size and location of such clinics. Cities are expressly forbidden under Prop. 203 from prohibiting them outright.

So who will ultimately win the “Not In My Back Yard” tug-of-war? Cities such as Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa, are grappling with commercial landlords, their constituents and zoning restrictions to keep the centers away from schools, churches and residential areas.

On the commercial real estate front, with the marketplace hard hit by the recession and Phoenix retail vacancy rates at 13 percent, many landlords are looking to fill empty space. But tenants such as medical marijuana clinics would cause some considerable controversy with residential neighbors and fellow commercial tenants.

“There are some landlords that will definitely have an issue with it,” said Pete Bolton, executive vice president and managing director of the commercial real estate brokerage firm Grubb & Ellis in Phoenix.

He expects dispensary operators to seek retail center locations with public exposure and easy parking. But, he added that some commercial landlords are hesitant to sign a marijuana outlet, especially if they have other tenants that cater to families or conservative customers.

Prior to the ballot passing, a number of nonprofit groups already were eying Phoenix-area shopping centers as possible dispensary locations. Even before the election earlier this month, more than 14 medical marijuana groups had reserved business names with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Some others were incorporating and looking for investors, dispensary locations and even growing sites.

Marketing manager for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries of Arizona Inc., Allan Sobol, says that like any other business, location is key.

“I want to be at a high-exposure location. I envision them just being like a CVS or Walgreens,” Sobol said.

He expects most marijuana outlets will be located in strip malls and other high-traffic locations near hospitals and medical centers. But with the dispensaries intermingled with other more conservative businesses, there could be some concerns.

So landlords will have some choices to make, and for Arizona cities facing these same dilemmas, the clock is ticking. Mesa, like Phoenix, will likely vote on where to locate the dispensaries by the end of the year.

This is likely the first time in history that a Mesa mayor has ever joked about collecting sales taxes on bongs or marijuana paraphernalia. But then, it’s probably also the first time in history that Mesa has come face-to-face with the prospect of stores legally selling marijuana. Given its size, Mesa could land between eight and 10 of the 120 dispensaries.

“This is not something we can prohibit,” Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said during a city council study session last month.

Under its proposed zoning regulations, Mesa would limit the dispensaries from residential, industrial and employment areas. Also, they could not locate within 2,400 feet of other medicinal marijuana shops and drug/alcohol rehab facilities. They would have to stay 1,200 feet away from churches, parks, open spaces in homeowner associations and libraries. They could be no closer than 500 feet from schools or group homes for the handicapped.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble says cities need to act fast.

“Cities can’t wait,” he said. “If they don’t get it done in time, I’ve got no choice but to approve a dispensary if they don’t have a zoning restriction in place.”

In other words, the state bureaucrats will act if the mayors and councils haven’t.

So, while a razor thin majority celebrates the approval of Prop. 203, mayors and city councils around the state not only must act fast, but also wrestle with moral, political and economic issues before the first medical marijuana clinic opens on a corner — possibly in your neighborhood.

Proposition 203 Passes - Arizona Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Proposition 203 Passes – Arizona Legalizes Medical Marijuana

On Nov. 23, Arizona is set to officially become the 15th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana.

Almost two weeks after the Nov. 2 election, the final numbers for Proposition 203 have been tallied and the measure has passed by the slimmest of margins — a mere 4,341 votes. The final numbers: 841,346 people (50.13 percent) voted yes on Prop. 203, and 837,005 people (49.87 percent) voted no.

Passage of Proposition 203 means thousands of legitimate medical marijuana patients will be able to receive their prescriptions, says Andrew Myers, spokesman for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project.

The first medical marijuana dispensaries won’t be open for almost a year due to the regulatory process, Myers added.

He also stated that Arizona’s medical marijuana industry would be very different from that of California, which at one point had around 1,000 dispensaries in Los Angeles County alone.

Proposition 203 limits Arizona to one dispensary for every 10 pharmacies and creates a state-regulated industry. This means if pharmacy numbers remain the same, Arizona will only have 124 medical marijuana dispensaries, Myers says.

Proposition 203’s approval won’t be certified until Nov. 23, to allow those behind the scenes to double check the numbers. However, Myers doesn’t anticipate any significant changes.

The certification might also be delayed until a recount on Proposition 112 is completed. Proposition 112 would amend the Arizona constitution to require citizen-initiative petitions to be filed six months in advance of an election. Currently, a citizen-initiative petition only needs to be filed four months prior to an election. With the current vote count, Proposition 112 has lost by fewer than 200 votes, the amount necessary to cause a recount, Myers noted.

Whether Proposition 203 is legally certified on Nov. 23 or not, the measure has passed, and you can expect legalized medical marijuana to come soon to Arizona.

To see all election results, visit the Arizona Secretary of State’s website. More election coverage on AZNow.Biz includes our political columnist Tom Milton’s analysis and our recap of the election results.