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Decision day arrives for medical-pot dispensaries

The future comes down to a powerball-style lottery.

The lottery to select 99 medical marijuana dispensaries
across the state out of almost 500 applicants is planned
for Tuesday morning. The lottery can be watched here.

“Ping-Pong balls and a hopper. So it’s an interesting bit
of theatre to go along with this,” said attorney Ryan

Hurley, of the Rose Law Group, represents almost two dozen
applicants. It’s unlikely that all of them will be
selected as dispensaries.

“It’s hard when you’ve worked for over a year and a half
and sunk a lot of your time, money and effort into it and
try to do things the right the way and hope that you’re
the one that gets selected.”

Hurley doesn’t believe a lottery using numbered balls was
the best way to select medical-marijuana dispensaries.

“We thought a merit-based system would have been the best
way to go. For whatever reason the Arizona Department of
Health Services decided to proceed this way and we
complied. It’s going to be interesting to see who ends up
with the selection.”

Meanwhile Al Sobol with the Arizona Cannabis University,
who was one of the strongest proponents of medical
marijuana agrees with Hurley about the choice of selecting
dispensaries and he sees a shaky future for the program

“There’s so many problems with the way applicants are
being selected. There’s favoritism. It’s so bad, I predict
the program is going to come to a crashing halt.”

Part of the medical-marijuana law said people living
within 25 miles of a dispensary will have to get the
medical marijuana from the dispensary but Sobol said
individuals can still grow their own inside of that
boundary for the next few months.

“If a dispensary opens within 25 miles of where you live
and you’re currently growing your own you will be able to
do that until your card expires next year.

“At that point the right to cultivate will be withdrawn
and you will have to go to a dispensary.”