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Arizona Begins Process of Regulating Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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Arizona, which has one of the country’s strictest rules regarding medical marijuana sales, is beginning the complicated process of regulating medical marijuana dispensaries, according to The New York Times.

Dispensaries have to comply with local zoning laws, offer detailed plans on how to secure, store and track the marijuana, and provide educational materials. Arizona is the only state in the country that requires dispensaries to hire a medical director.

Health officials divided the state into 126 geographic regions, and will give out one license per region in August. If there is more than one applicant for a specific region, the winner will be chosen by lottery. The goal is to try to prevent the marijuana business from growing too large. During the two weeks in May that officials accepted applications, they received 484.

“There was a fork on the road, really, and to the left would be California, where it’s a free-for-all, where you have a medical marijuana program that’s really a recreational marijuana program,” said Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Health Services Department. “We said, look, let’s go to the opposite direction and let’s try to do it right.”

In April, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that bans medical marijuana on state university and community college campuses. The law is due to take effect this summer. It is expected to face a legal challenge by supporters of medical marijuana.

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