Rush is on to apply as medical pot shop

2010-12-06T00:00:00Z Rush is on to apply as medical pot shop Arizona Daily Star
December 06, 2010 12:00 am

PHOENIX - One potential pot shop in Arizona would teach customers how to cook marijuana into treats like cookies and "potcorn."

Another envisions offering massages, yoga classes and marijuana meals to go, while a third wants a simple pharmacy-like shop next to an AIDS treatment center.

That's just the beginning.

Now that Arizona voters have narrowly approved a ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana, state officials are preparing for a green rush of sorts. They expect to be inundated with up to thousands of applications from would-be marijuana dispensaries, and with only 124 spots approved statewide, the majority will have to be turned away.

"Most other states, you hang out a shingle and you're a dispensary," said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, which will regulate the medical marijuana industry. "I want to avoid those kinds of abuses."

Humble sees limiting the number of dispensaries and putting stringent requirements in place as a way to avoid such issues.

Dispensary hopefuls will have to pay up to $5,000 to apply for a license. In their application, they'll need to include addresses for their pot shops and off-site cultivation facilities; detailed security plans to prevent break-ins; procedures for accurate record-keeping; information about employees for background checks; a sworn statement that they're meeting zoning requirements; and a statement pledging they won't sell pot to unregistered patients.

The department hopes to post a draft of proposed requirements on Dec. 17 and finalize rules by late March.

Greg Rogan, a Tucson pharmacy owner who plans to apply for a dispensary license, wants his dispensary to be near his pharmacy, The Medicine Shoppe, which also is next to the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation.

He wants to focus on treatment and education about ways to safely ingest marijuana.

"For us, it's not about making a quick buck," he said. "It's providing medicine to people who can benefit from it and need it."

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