TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Long lines formed outside of select dispensaries Friday, as the state began approving recreational marijuana licenses.
According to Arizona Department of Health Services, 86 applications have been approved as of Jan. 22nd. Four are in Pima County, and the only one to start recreational sales Friday was Harvest House of Cannabis at 2734 East Grant Road.
The other three Tucson locations are:
- Desert Bloom Re-Leaf Center, 8060 East 22nd Street, Suite 108. The owner said they have some more paperwork to do due, but they plan on opening to rec sales in coming days.
- Bloom Dispensary Tucson, 4695 North Oracle Road, Suite 117. A store spokesperson declined to comment or give a date when they will start selling recreational marijuana.
- NatureMed Inc., 5390 West Ina Road. A spokesperson at the store said that while they were approved Friday, they will have to wait on licensing. They expect to start selling Thursday, Feb. 25.
Friday was a day Arizonans have waited for—literally—as people stood in long lines outside of Harvest HOC for hours, ready to get their hands on recreational marijuana.
“I was just like, ‘I got to go’. I was honestly just going about my day, and I rushed down here,” said Tucson resident Eli Golub.
“We’ve been waiting for this the longest time,” said Juan Quiñonez. “But the line was too long today. So I’ll probably have to wait till tomorrow.”
CEO of Harvest Health and Recreation, Steve White, received the news of their approval at noon. Within seconds, he said they recorded their first sale.
“There were rumors that it was coming soon but it was a surprise that it was actually today. But we’ve been prepared since the day we submitted the application. We made sure to bring our employees in early and get them registered appropriately on that Tuesday,” said White.
White expects they’ll see big crowds through the weekend as the news spreads. But not everyone is celebrating the roll out.
“Something has to be done, it can’t stay like this,” said Tom Bossert, a property owner in the area. He’s referring to the crazy traffic, including dozens of cars lining the streets from dispensary customers. He’s even put up fencing to create a buffer between his properties and the parking lot.
“I’m faced with spending an excess of $15,000 to fence my property just to provide safety for my tenets,” said Bossert. “This is just going to be more the same, and if this is what the future holds, it’s very disappointing.”
Bossert has been trying to nip the problem in the bud prior to legalization. Now he worries, it’ll only get worse. But while he’s seeing red, others are focused on the green in more ways than one.
″I think the pros outweigh the cons of recreational in terms of the tax dollars,” said Golub.