Arizona Dispensary University to help people cash in on medical marijuana

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PHOENIX -- Arizona's medical marijuana initiative passed by a narrow margin last month, and while it doesn't kick in for several months yet, many people are already looking to cash in.

As Javier Soto explains, the Arizona Department of Health will not be accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries until April. That's not stopping people from preparing to cash in on what's being called the "green gold rush."

A new school is offering a variety of classes to help people interested in opening and operating a medical marijuana dispensary. It's called Arizona Dispensary University, and it's located at a prototype medical marijuana dispensary in North Phoenix.

The ADU tag line is "From seed to success."

"The people who consistently made money in the gold rush are the ones who sold the pans, the picks and the shovels," said ADU instructor Allan Sobol.  "We're the people who are going to sell the pans, picks and shovels. We're going to help people find the gold if it's out there, and we believe it is."

The first class offered by ADU, Initiative 101, is a three-hour course on the medical marijuana initiative. Classes are limited to 30 people per session. The first sessions of the $100 course sold out quickly.

The fee for the Application Preparation course  is $250. The first two sessions are already full.

The Arizona Department of Health is expected post an informal draft of the rules that will govern medical marijuana dispensaries Dec. 17. The public will be able to comment electronically on those rules through Jan. 7. A formal draft of the rules is expected by Jan. 31, after which there will be three public meetings. The final rules are expected by March 28, and DHS will begin accepting applications in April. Only 124 dispensary licenses will be granted.

Setting up a medical marijuana dispensary will not be cheap. There will be a non-refundable application fee of $5,000. Opening and running a dispensary, including setting up a growing facility, will likely run about $500,000.