In the second version, the state agency dropped the 70 percent rule and the surety bond.

The process for patients to receive their registration cards also eased: Instead of four visits, one would suffice. Doctors would have to conduct a physical exam, review medical records, and assume some responsibility for care of the patient's qualified ailment before recommending marijuana. The change probably would add tens of thousands more qualified patients — dispensary customers — than possible under the first rules draft.

A major sore spot for dispensary entrepreneurs was the proposal that would-be owners obtain an official certificate of occupancy for a dispensary location before a license could be approved. This would have meant, for example, that a hopeful pot company would have to fork out the dough to set up its entire grow room, among other things, so the fire marshal and other municipal officials could permit occupancy — yet the company would have no assurance it could use the space as a dispensary, because it hadn't yet obtained a license.

The certificate-of-occupancy requirement and the need for dispensaries to hire a medical director were retained in the second set of draft rules that came out on January 31.

But the latest draft takes the edge off both rules.

The idea now is to have a two-step process to obtain a license: Qualified applicants would have to try to reserve their desired areas, with a random drawing in cases when multiple applicants seek the same area. Then, after the initial application is chosen, a valid certificate of occupancy for the dispensary site would be mandatory before the issuance of a license.

The two-step method was suggested by Myers' Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.

The medical director, under the latest rules, no longer needs to be a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy.

Weeks before the second set of rules was released, Humble hinted to New Times that he would reconsider several of the more-criticized rule ideas.

"I'm not a social conservative or anything like that," he says. "I don't intend to overturn what the voters approved."

Humble aspires to be an efficient bureaucrat. He plans to "turn the key in April" and let the medical-marijuana system roll.

Gary Frye and his wife, Debbie, a bounty hunter and a beautician, respectively, speak with passion about marijuana and its potential benefits to sick people. They want to open an "upscale and discreet" dispensary somewhere in the northwest Valley — they're not ready to say where. They live in rural Tonopah, about 50 miles west of Phoenix.

They recall with glee the stunning results of the November 2 election and how what looked like a narrow defeat turned into a narrow victory after 10 days of counting votes.

"We were jumping up and down," Debbie says.

"It was like, 'This is really, really cool,'" her husband chimes in.

Their dream during the past two years could finally move toward reality. Ever since the pot market exploded in California and Colorado two years ago, the Fryes have thought about how they'd open their own store if the law ever changed in Arizona. Now they've got a corporation, The Healing Company, and are trying to nail down a deal to lease property for their hoped-for pot shop.

They expect to be among the first in line when the state begins taking applications for dispensary licenses in April.

The couple hopes the venture makes boodles of cash, naturally. But they're doing it for the "right reasons," they say, adding that they know people who have suffered terrible medical problems.

"A lot of people are strung out on prescription medications right now," Gary says. "[Marijuana] is a very non-addictive, safe alternative."

The Fryes have run businesses before. He's formerly a partner and manager of two auto-collision repair shops, neither of which is still open. He's most recently worked as a bail bondsman and in the field of "high-risk fugitive recovery." Debbie says she's practiced cosmetology and once owned a salon. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing from last year, the Fryes reported an annual family income of about $56,000.

They insist that they have the means to pull this off. Their "company of friends" includes experienced businesspeople, doctors, and investors, they say.

Like everyone else pursuing the same dream in Arizona since Prop 203 passed, the Fryes don't yet know whether they'll obtain one of 124 state licenses for dispensaries. All they know is they've got to try.

"Whatever it takes, we're going for it," Debbie says firmly.

Gordon Hamilton of Tucson has the same attitude. The member of Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project's "founder's circle" says he's also backed up by a company of professionals from various fields. His background in the aircraft-parts business will give him an edge when it comes to getting his dispensary application approved, he believes.

Humble wants medical marijuana tracked from seed to customer to prevent "diversion" — a.k.a. black-market dealing — and Hamilton's an expert at tracking aircraft parts under the strict rules of the Federal Aviation Administration. He helped run his dad's aircraft-maintenance business in Tucson before it went bankrupt and was sold. In 2008, Hamilton became the CEO of a successor company, Global Aerospace Technologies, which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2009 and sold all its assets to a secured creditor.

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help

The only places where you may NOT vaporize or ingest Medical marijuana are on a school bus, on the grounds of any school, or at any correctional facility.Let's be realistic though. If you're smoking medical marijuana in your backyard, and the nosey neighbors smell it, they might call the police. The police wouldn't arrest you upon showing your DHS card, but you'll likely deal with a police encounter if your neighbors assume that you're smoking marijuana recreationally. Police encounters aren't fun.

Phoenix Concert Tickets