Arizona's first licensed medical-marijuana dispensary, Arizona Organix in Glendale, opened today.
Voters passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act more than two years ago, but it's taken a while to implement -- the state Department of Health Services had to set up all the guidelines for the medical-marijuana program, and a county judge just this week sided with the voters in a legal challenge set up by County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Attorney General Tom Horne. Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon decided the state's law is not preempted by federal law, essentially giving the OK for dispensaries to open.
Arizona Organix is right at the corner of 53rd Avenue and Glendale, although it doesn't really stick out -- unless you notice the green Greek cross above the store, or the sign painted onto the side of the building.
From the front, it's totally nondescript. As you can see in the photo below, there are large windows on the front of the dispensary, and the only things posted are a neon "open" sign, a sign that warns that video-surveillance is in use, and another sign that says "no loitering."
If you were just walking by, and didn't see the sign on the side of the building, it'd be impossible to tell what's in there. There's pretty much nothing inside but a door, a window like you'd see at a box office, and a bunch of people sitting in chairs.
You can't see any of the medicine until you're brought through the door inside the dispensary, into another room where all the cannabis is kept.
Reports this morning said there was a line of people waiting to go in before the dispensary opened at 10 a.m., and when we stopped by around 3 p.m., the waiting room was damn-near packed.
Although Arizona Organix lost the title of being the "first" dispensary in the state, the dispensary in Tucson that opened "first" isn't actually doing any dispensing until next week.
Of course, the "compassion clubs" have been operating around the state for some time, although several of those locations have been raided.
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In case you missed the link above, our colleague Ray Stern just recently spoke with the owners of Arizona Organix about the dispensary, and you can read that by clicking here.