The Sheriff’s Office says a south Phoenix business called Korporate Smoke as operating as an unlicensed marijuana dispensary.
By Ryan Randazzo | The Arizona Republic
Arizona marijuana dispensaries are planning to launch a new advertising campaign as early as next month to help consumers differentiate legal, licensed shops from illicit operations.
The Arizona Dispensaries Association has discussed the idea for months, but the announcement that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department broke up an illegal marijuana shop in south Phoenix recently has made the need more urgent, said Ann Torrez, executive director of the trade group.
Arizona allows marijuana sales to anyone 21 or older. But unlike some other legal states, Arizona has a strict limit on the number of shops that are licensed to sell cannabis, with only about 130 legal shops operating in the state today.
Fake shops like the one found recently in Phoenix are uncommon in Arizona, but in neighboring California, it’s almost impossible to determine which storefronts are selling cannabis legally and which are black market. It’s estimated the illicit market in California is double the legal market.
“It’s very concerning,” Torrez said of the Phoenix shop. “That type of operation has been seen in other states. I point mostly to our friends in California where illegal dispensaries are on nearly every street throughout the state.”