Arizona Awards Cannabis Social Equity Licenses

Arizona Awards Cannabis Social Equity Licenses
High Times

Arizona state regulators awarded cannabis social equity business licenses last week, selecting 26 lucky winners out of a lottery pool of nearly 1,200 applicants. The Arizona Department of Health Services Offices selected the winners at its office on Friday after a judge ended a challenge to the state’s program to award licenses for recreational cannabis dispensaries to applicants negatively impacted by the War on Drugs. State officials and applicants crowded the health department’s Phoenix office on Friday as the winning applicants were randomly selected using Smartplay International state lottery software. The process was operated and audited by Henry & Horne LLP to ensure the security of the selection lottery. The selected applicants will now begin the process to open licensed adult-use cannabis dispensaries. Legalization with Equity Proposition 207, the historic voter initiative to legalize recreational cannabis passed by Arizona voters in 2020, included provisions to “promote the ownership and operation of marijuana establishments and marijuana testing facilities by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.” Applicant Arianna Munoz told reporters before the lottery that the social equity program has the potential to change her life. “It would create generational wealth for me and my family. It would give me more opportunities to create other business ventures,” said Munoz, who was not selected in Friday’s lottery. “I’ve always wanted to be a brand owner and dispensary owner and it was the perfect time.” Arizona’s legalization initiative included provisions to grant recreational cannabis business licenses to the state’s existing medical dispensaries, which began selling cannabis products to adults in January 2021. But social equity retailers will not be able to sell cannabis for medicinal purposes. “Prop. 207 didn’t amend the Arizona Medical Marijuana act at all, so the reason why the currently established medical licenses can be…

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