There are 1,500 applications for 26 social equity marijuana licenses

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Friday, December 17, 2021 - 3:43pm
Updated: Saturday, December 18, 2021 - 8:19am
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More than 1,500 applications have been submitted for 26 licenses in the Arizona Department of Health Service’s marijuana social equity ownership campaign.

The licenses were created as part of Proposition 207, which provides a path for dispensary ownership to people from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.

Sam Richard is the executive director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association. He says those who receive licenses have a high cost of entry into the cannabis industry.

“There are significant barriers, particularly connected to investment, that separate a license awardee from a true operation that is going to be successful in the marketplace,” said Richard.

Richard says high startup costs for entry-level business owners, as well as zoning law and other legal difficulties, may lead to larger dispensary businesses supporting applicants.

The licenses will be awarded via random drawing next spring, and Richard says those who receive licenses need to act quickly to start their business.

“The Department of Health Services put into the ruleset that individuals are forced to forfeit their license award, if they're not operational within 18 months,” said Richard.

Those who submitted an application were also required to attend multiple days of training and submit a $4,000 application fee.

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