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Arizona officials to ease up on medical-pot shops' deadline rules

PHOENIX -- Arizona medical marijuana regulators are easing rules imposing a deadline for would-be operators of dispensaries to apply for annual renewals of their state certificates.

Health Services Director Will Humble announced Wednesday that his department will accept renewal applications from all current certificate holders whether their dispensaries are open or not.

The announcement comes after a judge's order barring the state from denying certificate renewals to dispensaries that hadn't yet received approvals to operate because they weren't ready to open,.

Some prospective operators said they needed more time, citing delays from uncertainty caused by a legal challenge to the medical- marijuana system.

Humble said the ruling by Judge Randall Warner of Maricopa County Superior Court means the department must rewrite its dispensary rules. Humble said that will take months.

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