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Arizona Lawmaker’s Bill Will Tighten Rules on Dispensary Kitchens

Arizona Senator Sonny Borrelli just introduced a marijuana-related bill for the 2020 legislative session that addresses an issue of how medical marijuana dispensary kitchens, which make marijuana-infused foods and drinks, have relaxed food safety inspection obligations compared to other industries.

Last session, Borrelli introduced a similar bill which did not pass, Arizona Capitol Times reported. Zero Democrats in the Arizona Senate voted for the bill.

Unlike restaurants and other businesses, Arizona dispensaries get advance notice of these food safety inspections. An Arizona Dept of Health Services (ADHS) audit in 2019 found that the kitchens always happened to be closed at the scheduled inspection times.

Borrelli’s bill is an attempt to eliminate the required advance notice so that these inspections would be random, just like they are for all other industries in Arizona.

“[Inspectors] can go into everything from a Burger King to an abortion clinic unannounced – but not a dispensary,” Borrelli said.

The bill will need to receive three-fourths vote in order to amend the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).

The Smart and Safe Arizona Act, the ballot initiative to legalize adult use (recreational) marijuana in 2020, has written in it that the ADHS should make “at least one unannounced visit annually” to each dispensary kitchen.

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