Alberto Ortega/Getty Images An employee at a marijuana dispensary weighs a piece of cannabis.
Alberto Ortega/Getty Images

Recreational weed is legal, but state health officials are still working to finalize the details before sales start.

Recreational weed has officially been legal in Arizona for nearly three weeks now. 

The passing of Prop 207 during the recent election means it’s legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and six plants at home. 

But, outside of that, little has appeared to change. Only those with a medicinal card can drop into dispensaries to buy marijuana and it’s still illegal to buy weed any other way in the state. 

Sales of the drug likely won’t start until the spring and officials are still working to figure out exactly how that will work. 

But the changes are coming, and 2021 will be a big year for weed in Arizona. Here’s what you can expect:   

Public Can Still Weigh In on Proposed Rules

The Arizona Department of Health Services released draft rules dealing with some of the basics last week. A lot of the details haven’t been determined, though. 

The public has until Dec. 17 to weigh in on what part of the proposed rules are effective, where they can be improved, and whether anything was left out. 

Sales Could Start as Early as March

Almost all of the licenses to sell recreational will go to the existing 120 medical marijuana dispensaries that will then convert to expand sales to non-cardholders and an additional 12 licenses are also available.

However, these applicants still need direction from the state, like whether recreational inventory needs to be separated from medicinal and other details. They won’t get that until the rules proposed by AZDHS are approved.

Regardless, any medicinal dispensary wanting to expand to recreational can submit an application to the state from Jan. 19 to March 9. AZDHS will issue licenses to those in good standing within 60 days of receiving their application. Given that, recreational sales could start as soon as March 20.

READ MORE: Recreational Weed May Be Legal, But Some Arizona Cities Have More Rules Than Others

Other Aspects Still Unclear

AZDHS still has to figure out how exactly the additional 26 “social equity” licenses proposed in Prop 207 will be distributed. These new licenses are to be distributed within communities historically disenfranchised by marijuana laws. The department will determine who gets them, but there’s been no details on how communities will be identified, who will be allowed to apply, and how officials will decide who gets them. 

Those licenses weren’t addressed in the draft rules and the proposition text only called for them to be issued no more than six months after the rules dictating them are enacted, but there doesn’t appear to be a deadline for writing those rules in the first place. 

Other aspects are still up in the air, such as all the details on testing facilities and content labeling. It’s not clear when they’ll be released.