The idea that recreational marijuana should be legalized in Arizona has been gaining traction, with the state’s governor and other top political figures publicly advocating for the measure.
But with a handful of legislative votes pending, some residents and business owners are struggling to find the money to build and run recreational dispensaries, and a new class of recreational marijuana entrepreneurs are entering the market.
In the midst of a major economic downturn, Arizona has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people trying to get their hands on the drug.
A report from the state Office of the State Attorney General released in September found that in the first three months of this year, the state experienced an estimated $1.6 billion in new medical marijuana sales, an increase of 50 percent over the same period in 2016.
In some parts of the state, recreational marijuana dispensaries are opening on a weekly basis, with one in three dispensaries now operating within a half hour of a city or town.
In Phoenix, the city of Tucson is one of the most active marijuana entrepreneurs in the state.
A city council member and several other city leaders and officials are in the process of building a recreational dispensary, and several local elected officials are working to get the project off the ground.
In August, the City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that will allow for the establishment of a recreational marijuana business in the city.
The ordinance passed unanimously, but several members of the city council have said they want to wait until the new recreational legislation takes effect to get this done.
“I think it’s important to wait for the new law, and we’ll see how it affects our business and our ability to attract and keep the businesses that are going to be here,” Councilwoman Amanda Anderson told The Arizona Republic.
“Right now we have to wait and see how the new legislation will affect our businesses and our neighborhoods.”
As of July, more than 2,500 businesses had registered with the city to operate recreational marijuana businesses.
Anderson said that number is expected to rise to more than 3,000 in the next few months.
“We’re trying to figure out how to get as many of our people to register and sign up for these businesses, because if we’re not able to, then we’re just going to see people go back to the old way of doing things,” she said.
“We’re going to need a lot of people to sign up to do that.”
As with the new business licensing law, there are some hurdles that have to be cleared before a recreational business can be established in Arizona.
One of the biggest issues is whether recreational marijuana can be sold at retail stores, where it can be difficult to regulate, and how much of a portion of the tax revenue that a retail shop would collect could be used to fund a recreational pot shop.
The city of Phoenix has several legal recreational marijuana stores that sell marijuana to the public, but the city currently only operates four of the 15 recreational marijuana shops in the metro area.
The City Council is considering expanding its recreational marijuana dispensary program to include additional stores and restaurants, and Anderson said she is still working out how the city’s recreational marijuana ordinance would work with the retail store program.
“That’s something that we’re working through right now, but we’ll figure out exactly how we go about that,” Anderson said.
According to a report by the Arizona Association of Business, Phoenix is the third largest city in the United States to have recreational marijuana establishments.
There are currently five marijuana businesses operating in the Phoenix area, and according to the report, the number is growing.
to the Arizona Cannabis Industry Association, there currently is more than 7,000 licensed marijuana businesses in Arizona, and the number continues to grow.
The AZIAA estimates that there are about 400 recreational marijuana operations in Arizona and that more than half of those are located in the Tucson metro area alone.
“It’s very easy to get into the business and have a business, but it’s very hard to get people in the business,” Anderson told the Republic.