PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - When Gov. Doug Ducey certified elections results Monday, parts of Proposition 207 -- the voter-approved initiative that legalized recreational marijuana -- went into effect. There's somewhat of a Catch-22, though.
"Consumers right now can't actually purchase marijuana legally. While you can possess it, you're in this kind of gray area where you can't acquire it, but you can possess it," said Steve White, CEO of Harvest Health and Recreation, a medical marijuana company headquartered in Arizona.
In a statement Monday, the MCAO said that it will begin implementing the will of the voters "immediately."
He says the Arizona Department of Health Services still has a lot of work ahead to get an application process going for licenses to sell recreational cannabis. The advantage Arizona has, however, is that it's using the infrastructure already in place with medical dispensaries.
"Arizona, I suspect, is going to be the fastest program from vote to actual legal, regulated sales, but it's not something that happens overnight," White said.
So no -- don't expect dispensaries suddenly to start popping up on every corner. Existing medical dispensaries like Harvest get first dibs to send in their applications for that recreational license on Jan. 19.
"[The state] ha[s] 60 days to rule on those applications, so in theory, you could see regulated sales occurring in late March, early April," White said.
Generally speaking, the only recreational dispensaries you'll be seeing in the near future are places that transition from medical to a dual license. That means by the end of 2021, White says there could be up to 140 locations statewide.
Possession becomes legal when the election results are certified in about a month and sales should begin in May.
Expect a lot of towns and cities to discuss their own rules surrounding dispensaries this month, too. Mesa discussed it Tuesday at a City Council meeting. Municipalities have to set rules by the end of the year but they can relax them later if they choose to.