MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION PETITION HITS GOAL


"Three grams of blue dream and three grams of blowfish -- it's a special they're having for the 420," that was what Jennifer Green, a medicinal marijuana patient came in to pick up on Wednesday.

"Four-twenty"-- as In April 20 -- is a day associated with marijuana. It's also a big day for medical marijuana dispensaries like the north valley's Giving Tree Wellness Center in Phoenix. Staff says they've seen a shift in public perception over the past three years.

"I remember having 10-hour days with eight people walking in," co-owner and manager, Lilach Power said. "A lot of people were really concerned about crime, concerned about what's going to happen here."

What happened was more and more people bought into the suggested benefits of medicinal marijuana -- to where, on 4-20, 2016 Power says, 'hopefully we'll see more like 300.'"

Now, dispensary operator's like, Lilach Power, are beginning to consider the possibility of adding another layer to the cannabis conundrum -- that of the recreational user.

Arizona voters will likely decide this in November. The first thing, she says we'll notice is the number of providers will grow like the volume of plants in one of the Center's five, grow rooms.

"Right now there's 90 (dispensaries), there's going to be 200," Power said. "I think we're going to stay on the same level, but more people are going to come to every dispensary."

And don't expect budding entrepreneurs to be able to cut corners to in order to gain a competitive edge.

"It's still going to be a controlled substance," Power said. "And we're going to know where it's going, what we're growing and how much we're growing."

And that makes customers like Jennifer Green feel that if it passes next year, the drug will continue to be marketed responsibly.

"If it can accessed legally, then somebody can get enough just so they can smoke marijuana," Green said. "It won't be so much of a gateway drug if they go to a drug dealer that's on the street, so to speak."

The campaign to regulate marijuana like alcohol" says it has already collected has more than 200,000 signatures on its petition. Only 150,000 are needed to get it on the November ballot.