If Proposition 203 passes (the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act), one of our key decisions will be how to set up some kind of selection process for approving marijuana dispensary applications.  The Act states that the number of Cannabis dispensaries will be limited to 10% of the number of pharmacies in the state.  As of right now, that would cap the number of dispensary licenses at around 124.  Experiences in other states suggest that we can expect to receive far more than 124 applications…  meaning that we need to think ahead about how we’d select the successful applicants from all of the folks who send in complete applications.

There are probably a number of ways to do it, but 3 come to mind right away.  We could, for example:

  1. Use some kind of first-come first-served process and simply approve the first 124 complete dispensary applications;
  2. Place the complete applications in a pool and have some kind of random drawing on a particular date; or
  3. Evaluate the complete applications using some kind of objective criteria (such as the professional quality of their business model, security plan, customer validation and inventory system etc) and select the best applications from the stack for approval.

Method 3 is probably the best because we’d be able to select the best of the qualified applicants, but it would also be far more labor intensive than methods 1 or 2.  Method 3 would also be more challenging in terms of ensuring transparency etc.  An interesting twist on method 3 would be to send the completed (and blindfolded) applications to a 3rd party (e.g. a consulting law firm) and ask them to score the applications for us.

We’d also need to think about how to distribute the licenses geographically.  The Act states that each county is entitled to at least 1 dispensary, however we might also consider allocating potential license “quotas” on a “per capita” basis by county across the state. Anyway, we’ll know next week whether we need to deal with any of the things I’ve written about over the last few weeks.