When the clock struck midnight on October 13, customers outside Mint Cannabis in Guadalupe cheered. They were making history as the dispensary became the first in Arizona to remain open around the clock.
“This is the first 24-hour dispensary now in Arizona,” Antonia Renee told Phoenix New Times as she stood in line. “It’s great for groups of people who might not be able to come in their normal hours, like night nurses. For the community, it’s great; there are so many after-hour jobs that would prohibit them from coming in.”
Before the store opened its doors at 12 a.m. — technically, that would be Friday, October 14 — the queue stretched past the building and out to the sidewalk along South Priest Drive. In the dispensary’s parking lot, a DJ spun old-school Montel Jordan and new-school Cardi B music next to a taco stand that provided complimentary munchies throughout the night.
When 12 o’clock arrived, a bullhorn sounded, the staff opened the glass doors to the store, and the first 20 patrons were rushed into the 12,000-square-foot dispensary, which is the largest in the state.
“This is a game changer for those who are not able to easily access their medication,” said Camille Williams, a cannabis promotions model who is also known as Miss Tootsie Pop. “There are close to 200 people out there, and [the line]wrapped around the building.”
Williams was waiting to purchase Jeeter pre-rolls, which are infused with cannabis oil and coated in kief, and hoping for some infused food at The Mint Café, which butts up against the showroom. The kitchen closed at 11 p.m., but the drive-through was still open. Williams, though, wasn’t disappointed.
“I’m happy to see the Mint making changes. It’s revolutionary for everyone to help out so many people. I mean, we have our police officers, janitors, garbage men, and construction workers [who] get out of work early in the morning. This is definitely going to change it and make it more easily accessible,” she said.
One of the first 10 people to enterafter the Mint opened rolled in with a mobility chair. Shortly after that, a man with a service dog strolled in. When Renee finally made it inside, she remarked that she medicates with blunts to address stomach issues and consumes edibles for migraines. “It helps with my sleep. Half an edible, and I’m good,” she said.
The first 100 people, ages 21 and older, received a goody bag. Between midnight at 8 a.m., all visitors ages 21 and older received a free pre-roll. In the foyer, Mint staff checked customers’ IDs before they were allowed to enter the showroom. And folks waiting in line inside the showroom were greeted by Alexis Bohl, a contortionist who was backbending and posing upside-down on a small stage.
Bohl, 26, said she smokes weed and uses CBD creams to alleviate sore muscles.
On September 8, the Guadalupe Town Council paved the way for dispensaries to stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The change to Guadalupe’s zoning ordinance kicked in 30 days after the vote, and Mint was quick to take advantage of the expanded hours by planning to stay open all day on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Raul Molina, chief operating officer of Mint Cannabis, told New Times early on October 14 that the store expected to see $200,000 in sales on its first night of 24-hour operation. That means an additional $8,000 in taxes to the town, he said.
“Right now, of all the tax revenue for the Town of Guadalupe, and that includes all the Circle Ks, the hotels, everything that you see that is commercial in the area — we are still 60 to 65 percent of all the tax revenue out of this one dispensary,” Molina said.
The company expects to see a big boost in sales for the store, which had $26 million in revenue in 2021, he said.
“We estimate we will see an uptick of $3 million on the three 24-hour days we are open. So if it does $30 million, it will be about $1.2 million to $1.3 million in taxes to the Town of Guadalupe,” Molina added.
Mint Cannabis, which has additional locations in metro Phoenix and Michigan, has no immediate plans to turn its other dispensaries into 24-hour operations — yet. The state regulates dispensaries and mandates that they be open at least 32 hours a week, but municipalities set the hours. Before the vote in September, Guadalupe allowed dispensaries to operate between 8 a.m. and midnight.
“If this goes well, the company may expand its hours to include more days. If we can do more than 30 people an hour with the new hours, we are going to open up seven days a week. And if that happens, next year we should be well over $30 million, probably scratching about $33 million to $34 million out of this facility,” Molina said.