Arizona Schedules Mandatory Training For Social Equity Cannabis License Applicants

Published: Monday, August 23, 2021 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, August 23, 2021 - 7:34am
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The state health department has scheduled free, mandatory training for Arizonans hoping to get a license to sell marijuana through a social equity program.

A cannabis advocacy group estimates that 2,000 people will apply for only 26 licenses worth $10 million to $20 million each.

A lottery of marijuana licenses for Arizonans who bore an unequal weight of cannabis-prohibition laws is months away. But the state’s final rules on who qualifies for the social equity ownership program are still unclear, said Julie Gunnigle, politics director for the Arizona chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a group that works with potential applicants. 

“The comment again and again was, ‘Doesn’t this feel paternalistic?’ Doesn’t this feel like there is a separate class of licenses that are going to be treated differently?” she said.

Gunnigle said the training is a chance for the state health officials to clarify rules. She wants to know how applicants can prove they’re from a neighborhood disproportionately hurt by the drug war, or that they live far enough below the poverty line.

“And it’s unclear what paperwork, what sort of evidence one is going to need to produce to successfully get into the social equity lottery,” she said.

A state health department spokesman says starting a cannabis business is more complicated than others, and the legally-required training offered in September and October is to help people prepare.

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