Courtesy of SWC Tempe SWC Tempe is one of more than a hundred medicinal dispensaries that applied for a license to expand to recreational sales.
Courtesy of SWC Tempe

ADHS said in a statement Friday that 79 applications from across the state have been approved since Wednesday, while an additional six remain under review.

After months of build-up, recreational weed sales in Arizona quietly started Friday.  

The Arizona Department of Health approved the licensing applications on a first-come, first-serve basis for multiple medical dispensaries eager to expand to recreational sales Friday. 

Dispensaries in good standing could submit applications starting Jan. 19, and then AZDHS had 60 days to approve. Clearly, dispensaries that got their approval wasted no time getting started, as many kicked off sales Friday afternoon.

Prepping for Legalization

Public sales of marijuana, edibles, vape pens, and other marijuana products were legalized after Arizona voters approved Prop 207 in November. Adults age 21 and older can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and up to six plants per adult and up to 12 per household. 

The measure allowed Arizona’s existing 123 medical dispensaries to apply for permits to expand to recreational sales. ADHS said in a statement Friday that 79 applications from across the state have been approved since Wednesday, while an additional six remain under review. 

It’s not clear how many were actually aware they had been approved. The Copper Courier reached out to multiple dispensaries on the state’s list of approved retailers, none of which had been told that they had been given the green light for public marijuana sales. Others, such as the Tempe-based Harvest Health and Recreation dispensary, started sales at the north Scottsdale location right away and Mint Dispensary planned to kick off sales at the fitting time of 4:20 p.m. 

SWC Arizona also got the go-ahead from ADHS Friday, according to a company spokesperson . 

Adam Goers, the vice president of corporate affairs for Columbia Care, which operates SWC, said that they applied earlier this week and the application process was relatively straightforward.

An associate told The Copper Courier they could start sales as soon as late Friday afternoon.

“We have been preparing for some time to ensure we have enough product selection and supply in there to meet that demand and, of course, to ensure our medical patients will have their full selection of products,” Goers said. 

Prepared on All Fronts

He added that their team has been working “around the clock” to prepare for recreational sales, including logistical problems like ensuring they could handle the influx of new customers and meet the demand.

Goers couldn’t say whether Arizona would see any kind of shortage as other states did in the first days of sales, but he was confident that wouldn’t be a problem for SWC.

“I’m expecting Arizona’s rollout is going to be very successful,” he said. 

If you do go buy weed today, remember to bring cash, as most dispensaries don’t take cards. Buying weed from a dispensary is similar to buying beer from a liquor store. Simply go to the store, show your ID, and pick what you want. 

Have any more questions about weed in Arizona? Then give this a read. 

Did you buy weed on opening day? Tell reporter Bree Burkitt about your experience at bree@couriernewsroom.com.