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The Results Are In: Arizona Awards 31 Medical Marijuana Licenses

October 11, 2016

In a scene reminiscent of the NBA draft or a bingo hall, the Arizona Department of Health Services held a random selection on live webcast last week. The prize? One of the state’s few remaining nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary certificates.

The health department received an overwhelming 747 applications during the July 18-29 application period, but only 31 certificates were slated to be handed out last Thursday. Officials picked most of the recipients based on rules the department created five years ago, making most selections through a winnowing process designed to place new dispensaries near the greatest number of medical cannabis patients. Nine of the 31 available certificates were selected via a random drawing.

Each of the new dispensaries must be located within one of the state’s predetermined geographic areas for cannabis businesses. The random drawing was necessary because nine of the state’s so-called Community Health Analysis Areas, used to determine the distribution of dispensaries across the state, drew applicants that were so evenly matched that they were considered ties. To break the ties, a department official and two local accountants oversaw a lottery-style selection process.

Members of the Arizona Department of Health Sciences during the lottery selection of nice licenses. Photo from http://azdhs.gov/

Members of the Arizona Department of Health Sciences during the lottery selection of nice licenses. Photo from the Arizona Department of Health Services

About 20 people showed up for the proceedings, held in a small auditorium at the DHS headquarters just south of Van Buren Street on 18th Avenue, in Phoenix. Most of the 747 applicants went home disappointed, not to mention a little lighter in the wallet. Of the certificate’s $5,000 application fee, $4,000 is nonrefundable.

Some of the newly licensed businesses could have their stores open within a few months, Ryan Hurly, a lawyer who represents dispensaries, told the Phoenix New Times.

Voters approved a medical marijuana measure in 2010, and today date Arizona is home to 99 dispensaries that legally sell cannabis products to the state’s 100,000 registered patients. The latest round of license applications brought in roughly $3 million. The money goes into the state’s medical marijuana fund.

Nearly all the new dispensaries will be in the Phoenix or Tucson metro areas, which could make them some of the busiest retail stores in the state if voters approve Prop. 205, which would legalize cannabis for all adults over 21. Here’s a complete list of the recently awarded licenses:


Rank CHAA Name CHAA ID Allocated Application ID
1Paradise Valley Village46AZDS000001267
2 North Mountain52AZDS000001240
3 Deer Valley 44AZDS000001272
4 Chandler SE80AZDS000001162
5Scottsdale N 40AZDS000001307
6Camelback E56AZDS000001185
8Gilbert E 77AZDS000001481
9Mesa E 65AZDS000001204
10Scottsdale S 58AZDS000001089
12Tanque Verde 106AZDS000001289
13Tucson NE 105AZDS000001015
14Tempe N 68AZDS000001010
15Mesa W69 AZDS000001229
16 Tempe S 74AZDS000001239
19Yavapai Co. NE 26AZDS000001514
20Superior/Kearny 93AZDS000001438
21 Chandler NW 79 AZDS000001051
22Tucson E Central 109AZDS000000986
23South Mountain71AZDS000001360
24Glendale N 45 AZDS000001034
25Desert View/North Gateway 42AZDS000000842
26Mesa Central 70AZDS000000948
27Ahwatukee Foothills 78AZDS000001271
28 Maricopa Co. W51AZDS000001233
29Lake Havasu City 8AZDS000001508
30 Mesa S 73AZDS000001075
31Apache Junction92AZDS000001248
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Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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