Last Friday, Arizonans were able to buy recreational weed for the first time. The state Health Services Department approved 86 licenses, with most going to existing medical dispensaries, including Columbia Care’s SWC dispensaries in Tempe and Prescott, which have been operating since 2013. The Mint Dispensary, operator of the third-largest dispensary in the US, also received approval to sell recreational marijuana at its Arizona dispensaries.
“This is a major cannabis industry milestone – not just for Arizona, but for the entire country,” said Eivan Shahara, Co-Founder and CEO of Brightroot Inc., the parent company of the Mint Dispensary, which is headquartered in Arizona.
Prior to the passage of proposition 207 last November, Arizona was the only state in the country that still allowed a felony charge for first-time possession of small amounts of cannabis. Now adults can grow their own plants and legally possess up to an ounce. Possession of between 1 and 2.5 ounces is a petty offense with a maximum $300 fine.
Cannabis has been legal in Arizona since the measure was approved on November 30, but until last week there was no way to purchase it without a medical card. That said, Arizona has set a record for quickly moving from voter approval to widespread recreational sales.