Last May, the medical cannabis industry in Arizona was on life support and in danger of flat-lining. This May, the industry will be flying high and embracing a bright future as the state galvanizes its medical marijuana program.
Arizona announced this week that it will accept dispensary applications from May 14-25, a major step that should pave the way for the launch of medical cannabis centers. The state will issue permits for as many as 126 dispensaries by early August. After building their medical marijuana centers, owners will then have to receive a final operating license before they can open up their doors to patients.
It’s a marked turnaround from the same time last year, when Gov. Jan Brewer halted the dispensary program over concerns that government employees could face prosecution. The move effectively put the breaks on the licensing process, raising fears that the MMJ industry in Arizona was doomed. Now everything is back on track, and dispensaries should be open by the end of the year.
Here are five benefits of the state’s decision to resume its dispensary licensing program:
#1. It will create a thriving new MMJ market and a host of opportunities for cannabis entrepreneurs and ancillary businesses, such as legal and accounting firms, hydroponics shops and marijuana software developers.
#2. It represents a significant (and much-needed) victory for the medical marijuana movement against local politicians who tried to stifle the industry.
#3. It will allow MMJ entrepreneurs to provide a safe, reliable way for patients to get their medicine.
#4. It will prop up the entire U.S. cannabis industry by helping offset the industry’s contraction in states like California and Michigan.
#5. It could help medical marijuana initiatives in other states that have delayed the implementation of MMJ laws over concerns of federal prosecution. The fact that Arizona has decided to move forward with its cannabis program could be enough to sway elected officials in these states to proceed with MMJ programs.