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AZ: Scottsdale Getting $1 Million Medical Marijuana Store

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Katelyn Baker

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One of the most deluxe medical-marijuana dispensaries in Arizona will open in Scottsdale later this month, only weeks before a proposition to legalize the recreational use of the drug goes to voters.

The Harvest of Scottsdale facility will have 11 check-out stands in a 6,800-square-foot former bank building, near Hayden Road and Raintree Drive. That makes it the largest pot retail spot in the state.

"Every penny of this project was spent with the patients in mind," Steve White, CEO of Harvest Inc., said in a statement. "We wanted to create a place where they feel comfortable getting aid for their medical needs."

A second round of licenses to operate a medical marijuana dispensary will be awarded in October. The Arizona Department of Health Services, which oversees the medical-marijuana program, has received about 750 applications for the 31 licenses.

Medical marijuana experts say the high-end dispensary is a sign of a flourishing industry.

Demitri Downing, organizer for the Arizona Marijuana Industry Trade Association, forecasted that most dispensaries soon will spend big money to refurbish existing dispensaries or buy land to re-locate.

"This is another indicator of where the economics of the marijuana for medical adult use are heading in Arizona," Downing said. "When they say $1 million, that goes to carpet layers, electricians, permits. Under the old marijuana model, where would the money have gone? To the car of a drug dealer who was selling it from his trunk in the back alleys of Arizona?

"The new model is this: Arizona businesses holding their heads up high."

Voters approved the state's medical marijuana program in 2010. About 99,900 qualifying patients participated in the program, according to May figures from the Department of Health Services, which oversees the program.

The intense competition for the permits has set off a land rush of sorts, with applicants scrambling to lock down properties in metro Phoenix, Tucson and elsewhere that regulators might deem best suited for new dispensaries.

Proposition 205, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 years and older, would also give medical-marijuana dispensaries in good standing the first shot at the recreational licenses.

That provision of Prop. 205 is controversial because it creates exclusive rights - a monopoly - on who gets to sell legalized marijuana, an industry that is booming in other states like Colorado.

Half of Arizona voters surveyed in an Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll favor Prop. 205, while a sizable share remain undecided on the November ballot measure. The poll found 50 percent of registered voters favor legalization, 40 percent oppose the measure and 10 percent are undecided.

The Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll surveyed 784 registered voters between Aug. 17 and Aug. 31. The margin of error is 3.4 percent.

Harvest's new Scottsdale facility will be running specials during its opening weekend starting Sept. 23. It will hold an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 25. A medical-marijuana patient-card isn't required to attend the open house.

Harvest opened its first medical-marijuana facility in Tempe three years ago.



News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Scottsdale Getting $1 Million Medical Marijuana Store
Author: Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
Contact: 602-444-8000
Photo Credit: Harvest Of Scottsdale
Website: The Arizona Republic