Arizona Medical-Marijuana List of 48 State-Authorized Dispensaries Released by DHS
Dozens of medical-pot dispensaries dot the state from nearly every corner since the first one, Arizona Organix of Glendale, opened in November.
A recent newsletter to patients released by the state Department of Health and obtained by New Times shows the addresses of 48 of these pioneering businesses, which teeter on the edge of a popular state law and a whimsically applied federal prohibition against cannabis.
The list below is current as of the DHS' July 31 newsletter. However, a more recent tally of dispensary companies shows that 55 have now obtained state approval to operate. An additional 38 are scheduled for inspections that precede approval.
As we reported last week, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has nixed a state deadline the latecomers had to meet in order to gain approval and renew their business licenses for next year. That means it's likely that nearly all of the 98 businesses picked for selected geographical locations in a lottery held last August will be open for business in the coming months.
More than 90 percent of Arizona's roughly 39,000 medical-marijuana patients now live within 25 miles of one of the retail stores, the state reports. Home growers and untold numbers of amateur caregivers won't like that statistic, since it means that most will be forced to pull up their last legal harvest once their registration card is renewed.
On the other hand, the numerous dispensaries sprouting up statewide will make it convenient for just about all patients to buy their medicine in an authorized store. Whether this leads to an increase in the number of Arizona patients remains to be seen. Perhaps because of the legal questions surrounding medical marijuana in Arizona, including confusion over the state-approved dispensaries versus the unauthorized cannabis clubs targeted by County Attorney Bill Montgomery and other prohibitionists, the number of patients hasn't changed much since January.
Arizona still has a long way to go to catch up to its pot-friendly neighbor, Colorado, which has nearly three times the number of medical-marijuana patients, (about 107,000 as of June 30) yet more than a million fewer total residents. As you probably heard, voters in Colorado and Washington legalized weed for all adults -- 21 and older -- in historic elections last year.
The new legalization law will undoubtedly have some effect on Colorado's medical-pot industry in the coming years. But Colorado's recent experiences on the medical front seem to indicate that Arizona's dispensaries -- kept to a maximum number by state statute -- will beat the normal odds of success for small businesses.
As a Denver Post article from March explains, the number of Colorado dispensaries has declined from 1,131 at the end of 2010 to 675 as of the article's publication, a decline of more than 40 percent. However, doing a few further calculations shows that the decline boosted the number of patients per dispensary from 95 to 159.
With 95 dispensaries and about 38,000 patients, that's a per-patient ratio of 408 for each Arizona dispensary.
Overlooking the fledgling industry's other risks, those are pretty good odds.
Scroll down for the state's list of 48 currently open dispensaries in Arizona: