Arizona: Adult Use Marijuana Sales Begin

Retail marijuana sales to all adults 21 and older began in Arizona Friday.

The first sales came after the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) started reviewing and approving applications from existing medical marijuana dispensaries almost immediately after applications became available to these businesses on January 19. A total of 73 applications to dispense adult use marijuana have been approved thus far.

Arizona set records today, as no other state that has legalized marijuana for adults has ever moved this quickly to implement a voter-approved ballot measure, from the time of voter-approval to when retail sales begin.

State regulators informed dispensaries in an email last week that adult use marijuana sales could begin “as soon as late January.”

The rollout of adult use sales is expected to happen gradually, according to DHS spokesman Steve Elliot. “Existing medical marijuana dispensaries, once their applications are approved by ADHS, can legally begin selling marijuana to adults who are at least 21 years old. That doesn’t necessarily mean they open right then, since they may need inventory, staff, (Arizona Department of Revenue) paperwork. But they’re legal with our approval,” Elliot said.

Voter-approved Prop. 207 took effect upon the certification of the election results on November 30, 2020, and the rules and regulations governing the industry took effect on January 15.

“I commend state officials for prioritizing the implementation of Prop. 207 and ensuring that Arizona adults have safe and convenient access to affordable marijuana in a timely manner,” NORML State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf, told Marijuana Moment. “Voters were crystal clear on their mandate at the ballot box: end the failed policy of criminalization and replace it with a legal pragmatic regulatory framework as soon as possible. It’s time to stop ceding control and revenue of the marijuana market to unregulated and untaxed enterprises in order to eliminate the risks associated with an illicit market.”