Arizona officials have not yet approved any medical marijuana dispensaries for operation, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to sell the drug anyway.
Earlier this week the Counter Narcotics Alliance in Tucson ended a two-month investigation into a suspected illegal marijuana dispensary. Four people were arrested and police said several pounds of high-grade marijuana were seized.
This isn’t the first case of law enforcement shutting down a facility that said it was a medical marijuana dispensary. It also happened in Maricopa County.
“It’s really important for the public to know that Arizona Department of Health Services has not issued any certificates for marijuana dispensaries at this point in time," says Laura Oxley, of the Arizona Department of Health.
Anyone claiming to run a medical marijuana dispensary is not licensed yet because that process is ongoing, Oxley says. Even after the state approves dispensaries, prospective owners will still need to meet local regulations before they can open.
After a legal battle, the department began accepting applications for dispensaries earlier this year. More than 450 organizations applied, but state law limits the number that can open to 126.
The health department is evaluating the applicants and will issue licenses next month through a random drawing among those applicants that met all qualifications.