By Linda Kor –
With the deadline to submit applications for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificates passed, the Arizona Department of Health Services has provided information regarding the number of dispensary applications received and the next steps in the process of implementing Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act.
According to ADHS Director Will Humble, the department received 486 medical marijuana dispensary applications among the 126 Community Health Analysis Areas (CHAAs). Twenty-seven of the CHAAs had no applicant at all, leaving 99 Community Health Analysis Areas with at least one applicant. Seventy-five of the 99 had more than one applicant.
“We’ll be using a device that blows balls inside of a clear cage to randomly select the successful applicant in each CHAA. Applicants will be assigned a random code in advance and the person with the code that matches the ball that blows into the chamber will be allocated a registration certificate,” explained Humble. The process will be repeated for each of the competitive CHAAs, with the process to be webcast live on a URL that will be given out a few days before the Aug. 7 event.
The act doesn’t allow the identity of the successful applicants to be revealed, so the live announcement will be made using the code that only the applicants will have. Everyone who is allocated a dispensary registration certificate will have a little less than a year to build out and get an approval to operate.
The ADHS is also working with Arizona’s pharmacy/poison control systems to put together a contract to provide technical assistance and educational materials to the future dispensary medical directors. The department is also working to hire a vendor to help ensure that the future dispensaries are truly non-profit. “The contractor will be reviewing the required dispensary audited financial statements to make sure they’re on the up-and-up in terms of truly being non-profit,” stated Humble. As an example he stated, the contractor will be looking for evidence that dispensaries are getting fair value for goods, services, salaries and reimbursements to make sure that they don’t use a “shell game” to over-pay for goods or services as a way of moving assets out of the dispensary.
In a map showing the CHAAs throughout the state, it is noted that the Holbrook, Winslow and Snowflake regions are in three separate CHAAs, and the ADHS received from two to five applications for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificates for each of those three CHAAs.