Final Rules on Prop 203 Out; Dispensaries Must Make Pot-Infused Products In-House

The state Department of Health Services has published its "final" rules intended to guide and maintain the medical-marijuana system approved by voters last year. Whether the rules will be challenged in court remains to be seen.

We glanced through the new rules this morning, but realize that many of you -- having taken classes, attended seminars, or tried to start a pot-related businesses -- will be fully capable of dissecting them.

We were interested in learning two things right away: Is the process of obtaining state approval to possess medical marijuana still relatively easy? And how will the state deal with the hordes of wanna-be pot-shop owners when the new law calls for a maximum of 124 stores?

The answer to the first question appears to be "yes." A physician simply will conduct an in-person exam of the patient, review the medical records, then -- if the person appears to qualify -- sign off on the recommendation.

The applicants of would-be dispensary owners will be reviewed for various criteria. As before, if more than one applicant comes in for a state-designated license (based on geographic locations called CHAAs) the state will select the lucky winner at random.One thing that has changed, however, is that pot-infused products -- like brownies -- must be made on-site at the dispensary.

State officials will hold a news conference this afternoon to explain the rules. Officials said previously that applications for cards will be accepted starting in mid-April.

(UPDATE -- This article has been changed from the original -- we had to correct the part about the lottery system being ditched. As mentioned, it's still in place.)

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.