Last Friday, on January 22 — less than three months after voters approved Proposition 207 legalizing recreational marijuana — the Arizona Department of Health Services (“ADHS”) opened the state to recreational cannabis sales. By midday, many of the state’s 123 operating medical marijuana dispensaries received approval from ADHS to begin sales to individuals who are at least 21 years old. By the end of the day, the ADHS released a list of 86 marijuana establishments licensed to sell cannabis to any adult over 21. Most of the licenses went to existing medical dispensaries that were able to start sales right away. This is by far the most expeditious turnaround from voter approval to actual sales of any of the fifteen states that have legalized adult-use cannabis thus far.
The quick turnaround is especially remarkable when compared to the progress (or lack thereof) of the three other states — New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota — that legalized adult-use cannabis last November. All three states have been facing marked obstacles to the rollout of adult-use sales.
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