by J.M. Smith
In a long, drawn-out, seemingly somber process involving ping-pong balls and a stopwatch, the state Department of Health Services on Tuesday randomly chose potential operators for 97 medical marijuana dispensaries across the state.
Operator certificates went to applicants in 14 of the 18 Tucson area districts (none were issued for the West Side, Pascua Yaqui, Tohono O'odham and Green Valley areas), as well as Nogales, Sierra Vista, Bisbee and Benson. When the operators are ready, they will call for state inspections. If they pass, they will then get approval to open. Some of the dispensary operators — who have been waiting more than a year - are ready to swing open doors this week. Though the inspection process doesn't include a deadline, it seems likely the state will move forward post-haste. It would suck in so many ways if the Gov. Jan, Attorney Generalisimo Tom Horne or DHS Director Will Humble tries yet again to stall this process.
Here is a map of state CHAA's and a list of the ones where certificates were issued. The addresses of several planned dispensaries were available Tuesday at a jovial gathering of potential dispensary operators and other MMJ proponents. Spirits were high among the crowd, some of whom were arrested a month ago in a raid at Green Halo Cannabis Collective near Prince Road and Interstate 10. That location will not be a dispensary, though The Green Halo plans to open two — at 4045 E. 29th Street and 7710 S. Wilmot. Other Tucson locations include: Copper State Herbal, 8950 N. Oracle; Verde Wellness Center, 8060 E. 22nd and 1530 E. Benson Hwy; Southern Arizona Wellness, 4695 N. Oracle Road; and Purplemed, 1010 S. Freeway and 2788 S. Frontage Road.
So the MMJ program inches ahead yet again, the key word there being "ahead." It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that dispensaries could soon be a reality. Now, bring on the inspections, Mr. Humble. We are waiting patiently. **Crosses arms. Taps foot**