PROP203 is the current medical marijuana bill for the state of Arizona. To open an Arizona Dispensary it has to be Non-Profit Organizations and in August 2012, applicants were selected during a competitive random selection process. 


Timeline of events happened as follows:


  • Nov 2, 2010: Proposition 203 passes

  • Dec 17, 2010: ADHS posts informal draft Rules for public comment 

  • Dec through Feb 2011: ADHS receives public comment & holds 4 public meetings

  • March 28, 2011: ADHS publishes Final Rules 

  • April 14, 2011: Medical Marijuana Act effective

  • April 14, 2011: ADHS begins to accept applications for qualifying patients and designated caregivers

  • March 15, 2012: ADHS begins to accept renewal applications for qualifying patients and designated caregivers

  • May 14-25, 2012: ADHS accepted dispensary applications 

  • August 7, 2012: ADHS allocated dispensary registration certificates via a Random Selection Process 

  • December 6, 2012: First dispensary opens and dispenses.

As of March 2013, there are 36,595 active individual qualifying patients; 737 active individual caregivers; and 39 minor patients which is expanding rapidly. Dispensary registration certificates were issued based on one dispensary per Community Health Analysis Area (CHAA) to give patients access. If there was more than one dispensary registration certificate application for a CHAA that was complete and in compliance, the ADHS issued dispensary registration certificates using a random selection process.


There were a total of 98 registration certificates allocated on August 7, 2012. ADHS has received 20 Approval to Operate Applications to date. Currently, there are 9 approved dispensaries. 7 of those open and operating as of March 2013. Maximum number of possible dispensary licenses issued to open a dispensary in Arizona i 126, based on one license per ten pharmacies in the state.

Download PDF of the current regulations to open a dispensary in Arizona.

Download PDF of the eligible applications report showing CHAA's.


Below is a link to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act Quarterly Report. This report contains data on current active cardholders of medical marijuana starting April 14th 2011 until March 28th 2014. The quarterly report also contains data on transactions for all active cardholders for this time-period. 


Arizona Medical Marijuana Act Quarterly Report 


General analysis on application requirements to open a dispensary 


  • Comprehensive lottery-based application process that requires several separate applications including non-profit information, site locations, proof of capitalization, and other specific Dispensing Center or Cultivation Center business and operations plans.

  • There are two separate licenses, dispensary certificate and approval to operate certificate. All additional members or workers in the dispensary or cultivation site must be registered dispensary agents.

  • Each individual who has 20% or more interest in the dispensary is the applicant or a principal officer or board member of the dispensary;

  • Demonstrated that applicant has at least $150,000 under the control of the entity or principal officer to begin operating the dispensary, and has had control of the $150,000 in subsection for at least 30 days before the date the dispensary registration certificate application was submitted.

  • An individual shall not be an applicant, principal officer, or board member on more than one dispensary registration certificate application for a location in a single CHAA, or more than five dispensary registration certificate applications for locations in different CHAAs.

  • Every dispensary is required to appoint a physician to function as the medical director and cannot provide a written certification for medical marijuana for any qualifying patient

  • An applicant has to have an attestation signed and dated by the principal officer or board member that the principal officer or board member is an Arizona resident and has been an Arizona resident for at least three consecutive years immediately preceding the date the dispensary submitted the dispensary certificate application.

  • Regulations require cultivation sites and Arizona Dispensaries to maintain a complete seed-to-sale inventory control system, to monitor the chain of custody
    and current whereabouts, in real time, of medical marijuana from the point that it is harvested at the Cultivation Center and/or MIP facility and sold to a Dispensing Center and its patient members.

  • Additional cultivation sites are allowed and permittable.

  • Laboratory testing is required on testing for traces of pesticides/mildew and determining THC/CBD content, overall quality, and potency.

  • Marijuana must be cultivated in an enclosed, locked facility.

  • (MIP) Marijuana-Infused Products are allowed to be dispensed. If dispensary prepares, sells or dispenses infused food, ensure the products are prepared, sold or dispensed according to the requirements in the State Health Code.

  • No school, landlord, or employer may be penalized or denied any benefit under 
    state law for enrolling, leasing to, or employing a registered qualifying patient 
    or a registered designated caregiver

  • Patients are allowed to purchase medication 2.5 ounces of product every 2 weeks.
    Patients may also grow marijuana up to 12 plants if their place of residence is 25 miles or more. A maximum for the amount of edibles a patient can have will be created by the department but has not been established.


State financial requirements to open a dispensary in Arizona


  • The Department of Public Health has required applicants to have at least $150,000 in proof of capitalization to operate a dispensary. 

  • Dispensary application registration fee.........................................................$5000.00

  • Dispensary renewal of certificate fee...........................................................$1000.00


Total: $155,000.00 REQUIRED to submit proposal and application form



$250,000.00 - $500,000.00 in starting capital could be necessary to pay the expenses involved with development of your dispensary business plans, securing site locations, any consulting fees accrued, and paying all state financial requirements for ONE Dispensary License. There will be additional costs when applying for more Dispensary or Cultivation licenses in Arizona but no more than five can be applied for.


This may or may not include the amount needed to develop either the Cultivation Site or the Arizona Dispensary. For Cultivation Sites only, it is imperative to have the necessary operations costs covered for up to 2-4 months during initial cultivation cycle after receiving a dispensary license to operate. Please contact us for more information on how to open a dispensary in Arizona.