Arizona medical marijuana shops await lottery

PHOENIX - The Arizona Department of Health Services is set to hold a much-anticipated lottery to select medical marijuana dispensaries across the state.

There are currently 486 applicants for the licenses and 126 will be awarded.   

"The dispensary system is the most efficient way for people to get the medical marijuana they need," said Kendric Steaple, who runs Compassion First. The organization has several partners with applications in to operate the dispensary.

Compassion First has a facility near 7th Avenue and the 101 where caregivers and patients are able to come in and grow their own marijuana. If they are awarded the license, the facility will change to a full dispensary.

The facility was set up over the past year.

Steaple explains that even if they do not get a license for that facility, they will be in a good position to sell it to someone who does obtain one.    

The applicants chosen will have ten months to get things in order to get the license in place.  

"There is always a concern that there will be players in the industry who are not professional who could jeopardize the entire industry," he said.

The lottery will take place at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday. The Arizona Department of Health and Human Services will stream the lottery live online .

Compassion First will also hold a viewing for the public.

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