Sunday, June 5, 2011

Medical-marijuana superstore opens in Phoenix

It may not have been the grand opening he'd hoped for, but Dhar Mann says his Phoenix marijuana superstore will be a boon to first-time pot growers.

Mann opened his third weGrow store Wednesday - twice the size of his two California locations at 21,000 square feet - amid legal uncertainty about Arizona's voter-approved medical-pot law.

A federal lawsuit filed last week by Gov. Jan Brewer has halted the monthlong marijuana-dispensary-application process, which was to have started Wednesday. Mann said he expected to cater to large-scale cultivation operations that served dispensaries but instead will focus on folks setting up grow rooms and gardens at home.

"Now it's more about serving the patients so that they can grow their own medicine," he said. "Arizona is a state where there's high demand and very little information."

State health director Will Humble turned away the first dispensary applicants Wednesday, setting the stage for a possible legal challenge or administrative appeal based on the state's failure to implement the law.

Humble said dispensary applications won't be processed at least until a federal judge rules whether Arizona's new law conflicts with federal statutes banning marijuana.

About 4,000 Arizonans have state identification cards that permit them to use marijuana to treat a debilitating medical condition. State law allows people who live more than 25 miles from a dispensary to grow up to 12 plants for their personal use, and it allows a designated caregiver to grow marijuana for up to five people. Patients must indicate on their application that they plan to grow marijuana.

In addition to hydroponic supplies and other growing paraphernalia, Mann's store at 29th Avenue and Thomas Road features an adjacent clinic where people can get marijuana recommendations after submitting medical records and seeing a doctor.

A medical recommendation is required for a state-issued patient-identification card.

Medical-marijuana superstore opens in Phoenix

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