With a booming medical-marijuana program and business-friendly regulations for dispensaries and farms, Arizona is a can’t-miss market for large cannabis companies that are growing across the 33 states with legalized medical or recreational use.
Arizona allows medical marijuana use with the recommendation of a doctor, and voters narrowly rejected recreational use in 2016.
Arizona’s 183,000 qualified patients not only increased by 21 percent in the last year, but the state’s requirement that marijuana farms be vertically integrated with a retail dispensary make it a lucrative market.
“There are a lot of really good craft companies,” said Sara Gullickson, CEO of Item 9 Labs Corp., a publicly traded cannabis company headquartered in Scottsdale. “But not a lot of people can grow like we can here.”
The Scottsdale company’s stock is traded on the over-the-counter market, which means it is not traded on major exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq. Item 9 tells investors it plans to operate in six to 10 markets in 2019.
Gullickson said that scaling up and operating in multiple states allows companies like Item 9 to offer better benefits to workers, such as a 401(k) retirement plan and health benefits. …