Adult-use cannabis sales in Arizona could commence as early as March with existing medical cannabis dispensaries getting licenses first, followed by 26 social equity licensees, cannabis attorney Tom Dean said on KTAR News’ Gaydos and Chad show. Dean noted, however, that officials have not clarified what the criteria for those social equity licenses will be.
“People will be eligible for one of those types of licenses if they are a member of a community that has been disproportionally impacted by the enforcement of marijuana laws in the past. So perhaps certain ethnic minorities or perhaps certain socioeconomic categories.” – Dean to KTAR News
The Department of Health Services is tasked with issuing the first round of licenses.
Portions of the law took effect the minute Gov. Doug Ducey (R) certified the election results, including personal possession and cultivation for adults 21-and-older. Following the election, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) indicated it would start dismissing cannabis charges that are now legal under the voter-approved law. According to KTAR News, there are more than 5,000 cases eligible for dismissal in metro Phoenix alone.
Jennifer Liewer, a spokeswoman for the MCAO said that “a significant number” of cases with cannabis-related charges “will include other felony charges” that will not be dismissed along with the low-level cannabis charge.
Dean warned, however, that citizens must be sure to remain within the letter of the legalization law because Arizona’s cannabis penalties not covered by the reforms remain “pretty harsh.”