Nearly 200 Cannabis Dispensary Applications Filed in Arizona, Signaling Tough Competition

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With the deadline fast approaching, Arizona has received 193 applications from entrepreneurs interested in opening a medical marijuana dispensary, according to the latest data provided by the state.

The numbers reflect the huge amount of interest in Arizona’s medical marijuana program and indicate that the application process will be a highly competitive affair. The state will license up to 126 dispensaries – one in each of the pre-defined “community health analysis areas,” also called CHAAs.

The deadline to submit applications is 5 p.m. Friday, meaning dozens of additional applications will likely flood in tomorrow before the cutoff time.

Given the high volume of applications, dozens of hopefuls will be rejected. The most competitive CHAAs are: Tempe North (9 applications), Show Low (8), and Deer Valley and Flagstaff East (7 each).

Dozens of CHAAs, however, have received just one application, meaning applicants who filed in those areas have a pretty good shot at getting a registration certificate. And plenty of opportunities still exist: More than 50 areas have not received a single application.

The state will rake in at least $1 million through the process, according to MMJ Business Daily estimates. Applicants must pay a $5,000 fee to submit an application, though Arizona will reimburse $1,000 to applicants that don’t receive a registration certificate.

With the long-delayed dispensary program in full swing, the state is also considering expanding the medical conditions required to qualify for a medical marijuana card. The proposal includes adding post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines and depression, among other ailments. If approved, this would greatly expand the number of qualified patients, which currently stands at about 28,000. That, in turn, would expand the market for dispensary owners and other MMJ businesses.