PHOENIX — Thirteen new recreational marijuana dispensaries are headed for rural Arizona.
The Arizona Department of Health Services gave out 13 licenses in a raffle Monday. Each application cost $25,000.
AZDHS says they received 355 applications. Each person was able to submit a maximum of five applications. The proceeds will go back to state, city and school budgets.
“I think there’s an incredible demand and it started when we saw the results from last November’s election,” said Samuel Richard, executive director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association.
Since recreational marijuana dispensaries opened up in January, the state has collected more than 14 million in taxes from them. More money is still on the way.
Terri Candelaria, the owner of Springerville Smoke, got the first license.
“Almost in disbelief but really excited,” said Candelaria. She only submitted one application.
The odds weren’t in her favor.
“My application got sent back a couple of times,” said Candelaria.
The high cost of each application makes it financially impossible for most small business owners send in more than one application.
But Candelaria is excited to bring the first dispensary to Apache County.
“To be able to serve that underserved community to begin with, be a small business, and be able to be a part of that economic development is pretty exciting,” said Candelaria.
She just hopes more small business owners will get that chance.
“It’s definitely very difficult for a small business owner,” said Candelaria.
At a future date the state will give out 26 additional licenses under its social equity ownership program.
The program seeks to give minorities, who have been disproportionately impacted by old marijuana laws, a chance at ownership.