Much to be decided before medical marijuana hits Arizona streetsPosted: Updated:
It took nearly two weeks to count the votes, but medical marijuana is coming to Arizona.
Now what? It's the question the state now has to wrestle with after Prop 203 passed. Medical marijuana will be legal in Arizona, but passing the proposition was just the first step.
"What we need to do is flesh out the details so we have a responsible system and that's gonna take a lot of work," said Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble.
Arizona became the 15th state in the country to legalize medical marijuana.
"We're going to be in a position to learn from other states," said Director Humble.
Director Will Humble held a press conference to address what exactly the state will do. And the clock is already ticking, the state has four months to get all the rules in place.
"I want to be able to identify all the marijuana plants grown in the cultivation center, track it from there to dispensary to patients," said Humble.
Local business owners and pharmacists Greg Rogan and Deborah Van Sant plan on running one of those dispensaries. They just recently opened a medicine shoppe off of Euclid Avenue.
Right now though, they're still playing the waiting game, waiting to learn the regulations.
"We cant make too many plans until we see what's going to happen," said Rogan. "I'm not going to go out and rent another building unless I know I can have a dispensary there."
There are already concerns people will abuse the new law; concerns selling it will hurt the local community.
"I don think it will adversely affect the community," said Rogan. "If anything it will help curb the illegal activity that's going on out there."
Rogan says it'll definitely help people more than hurt them. Especially because of their prime location, right across the street from the southern Arizona aids foundation.
"We want them to have the choice to use this medicine. It wont work for everybody, we know that," said Rogan. "But most medicines we have back here won't work for everybody."
When it's all said and done, state health officials say there'll be about 124 dispensaries across the state. And Rogan hopes he'll run one of them .
Medical marijuana rules go into effect in April of 2011.