In addition, dispensary owners can try setting up shop in a rural location and move if they're not happy after three years. If they find that there aren't enough qualified patients in the area, they can move after the waiting period as long as they get local zoning approval. This rule allows dispensary owners to consider rural locations with minimal risk.
Finally, the Department of Health Services can ration licenses with a priority for rural locations. The Department can first consider an application for a county that doesn't have a dispensary. If each county has a dispensary, they can consider larger areas without an active dispensary, or the Department can award licenses in a way that aims to meet known patient demand. Because patient density might change over time, allowing the Department to approve licenses according to priority ensures that dispensaries meet patient need and demand throughout the state, including in rural areas.
The Department of Health Services makes it clear that dispensary applicants for a rural area have a greater chance of success. They can also move their approved dispensary if they're unhappy with the outcome after they wait out the three-year restriction. The Department is openly vocal about the fact that competition for rural license approval may not be as strict. They say that applications with previous bankruptcy filings or without the required $150,000 in available capital might still successfully compete for a license in a rural location.
The Department plans to publish a map of applicants. That way, aspiring Scottsdale dispensary owners can look at where others have already submitted applications. AZ Applicants can look at the map and make informed decisions about where to apply. The hope is that more dispensary owners choose to operate in underserved areas.