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Updated Dec 6, 2012 - 2:51 pm

Arizona's 1st medical pot dispensary opens

Mike Gonzalez of Glendale was the first patient to arrive at Arizona Organix Thursday, December 6. (Jim Cross/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- Two years after Arizona voters approved the use of medical marijuana, the state's first dispensary opened Thursday morning.

Arizona Organix in Glendale opened its doors to medical- marijuana patients at 10 a.m. Medical marijuana attorney Ryan Hurley with Rose Law Group said this historic moment has been a long time coming.

"The battle started over a decade ago with the first vote and here we are two years after the voter approval. We're finally moving forward. It's a good day."

The opening of Arizona Organix is just the beginning. About 100 other dispensaries are waiting for the go-ahead.

Earlier this week, an Arizona state judge ruled that the medical marijuana law here doesn't usurp federal drug laws, clearing the way for the Glendale dispensary and others to open. State and Maricopa County prosecutors said they planned to appeal.

"They have to be open by next August. You will see a handful of dispensaries opening in the new few weeks and then a steady stream after that," Hurley said.

Mike Gonzalez of Glendale was the first patient to arrive at Arizona Organix. He has tumors in his neck.

"It's too risky for surgery so it helps control the growth of the tumor," he said.

"I've been waiting a long time for this," said Charles Everett, 56, a musician who said he was assaulted and robbed about eight years, leading to a broken femur and ongoing chronic pain.

"I don't like to depend on prescription narcotics," Everett said. "It's a great day for Democracy."

Arizona Organix is cash only. Owner Bill Myer said that's because the banks he has dealt with don't want any part of the controversy over federal vs. state marijuana laws.

"The banks won't allow me to deposit my cash. I can't take credit cards because there's nowhere to funnel the cash. I had about $200,000 in a pair of banks and they made me pull all of that money out," he said.

Myer jokingly said he will deliver the cash to the Arizona Revenue Department in a wheelbarrow.

He plans to keep the dispensary open at least 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

"If you need medicine on Christmas Day, come and get it," Myer said.

Associated Press contributed to this article.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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