PHOENIX - Hundreds of potential pot dispensary owners will find out if luck is on their side Tuesday.
By using a commercial-grade bingo machine, Arizona’s Department of Health will decide which applicants get approved.
There were close to 500 applications, but there are only 126 slots, 99 of which received applications.
Phoenix had the most applications, but areas like north Scottsdale, north Tempe and west Mesa all had more than ten applications for each slot.
To ensure fairness, the state hired independent auditors who will be closely watching the process.
The state even bought three machines to ensure the integrity of the process.
One of the machines is being used to practice, the other to do the actual drawing and a third as a back-up in case the second machine breaks.
Applicants have already spent $5,000 on just the applications. And in instances where there was more than one application, applicants had to show they have $150,000 in the bank. They also had to submit to extensive background criminal checks.
Once they are granted the license, applicants will not be allowed to transfer their licenses to avoid an applicant buying several dispensaries and then selling them at higher prices.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says medical pot dispensaries are illegal.
Horne warns that federal law means that the state cannot authorize distribution of medical marijuana, but Horne says that doesn't stop the state from holding the lottery Tuesday.
Horne says that's because the certificates aren't the final step in the process to authorize dispensaries.
Horne says he anticipates a judge will be asked to rule quickly on whether federal pre-emption of Arizona's law means the state cannot authorize dispensaries.
Health Services Director Will Humble says the lottery will be held as scheduled but that he doesn't know what may happen in coming weeks or months.
The lottery will take place at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The Arizona Department of Health and Human Services will stream the lottery live online .
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