Prop 207 projected to pass; legal buys won’t happen until spring 2021 likely

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 6:46 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Tuesday night, Arizona saw a lot of blue, but come 2021, it looks like the state will be seeing a lot of green.

Prop 207, recreational marijuana for those 21 or older, is set to pass. However, purchasing of that recreational marijuana won’t be for a few months.

Michael Crawford, one of the owners of The Prime Leaf Dispensary has been planning for the day recreational marijuana will be legal. Purchasing a new location in midtown and designing it for potential drive-thru service and a dual license.

“We want to be able to sell it the first time we can,” Crawford said.

His shop plans to apply for a dual license the first day they are able to, which is January 19 and open until March 9, 2021. From there, the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services has a max of 60 days to issue a license after the application is filed. Crawford is hoping to start selling in late March. He estimates his business will see up to four times the amount of sales.

“So, we’ve been preparing for that,” he said.

Between now and January 19, ADHS has to develop an application process and rules and regulations on how to operate a dual facility—after that, more rules and regulations will come from the state and local municipalities—like setbacks, caps on establishments, drive thrus and more.

“There’s a whole program to build out and there’s a lot more to it that just the adult licenses,” said Laura Bianchi, partner at Bianchi & Brandt a cannabis legal firm in Arizona.

Bianchi guesses, like many first-time programs and industries, there will be lawsuits regarding recreational marijuana, but mainly within municipalities. However, that is part of the reason the initative lists April 5 as a cut off date for any rules and regulations licenses from ADHS. If the department cannot meet that deadline, establishments are allowed to sell.

While it’s a quick turnaround, those in the industry feel it’s possible since Arizona already has medicinal marijuana.

“We expect those rules coming out from the department will not necessarily be coming from a place of starting from scratch,” said Samuel Richard, executive director Arizona Dispensaries Association.

Arizona was one of several states passing some form of marijuana legalization.

A spokesperson for ADHS said, “Until the general election canvass is completed, ADHS is unable to engage in a detailed discussion on implementing a ballot measure’s provisions. As was the case with medical marijuana, ADHS has the mechanisms and staff expertise to establish a regulatory system should the law require it.”

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