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OK to grow medical pot ending in Phoenix area

Associated Press Modified: November 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm •  Published: November 16, 2012

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona's approval of the state's first medical marijuana dispensary has triggered a provision that means nearly all Phoenix-area cardholders now authorized to grow their own marijuana will begin losing that right in the coming months.

New medical marijuana cards issued in most of the Phoenix area won't include the authorization to grow, Health Services Director Will Humble said Friday. The state's online medical marijuana application process will be shut down until Monday to implement that change, he said.

Arizona's voter-approved law permits medical marijuana applicants to also seek growing authorizations, but only if there is no dispensary within 25 miles.

The Glendale dispensary that was approved by state officials late Thursday is within 25 miles of nearly all of the Phoenix area. Operators plan to open the facility within a week or two, said Ryan Hurley, a lawyer for the Glendale dispensary.

The statewide program has 33,601 authorized users, including 27,794 who are authorized to cultivate, according to a Department of Health Services report.

Current growing authorizations won't be renewed when they expire. They last one year, so growing authorizations issued a year ago will begin expiring immediately, department spokeswoman Laura Oxley said.

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