More than 1,500 applications have been filed for Arizona’s 26 social-equity dispensary licenses, which are valued at over $10 million, the Associated Press reports. The state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) indicated the random selection process for the licenses will be conducted next spring.
Under the state’s social equity requirements, principal officers or board members of the applying company holding at least 51% ownership in the entity must meet three of four criteria, including having an annual household income, in at least three of the years from 2016 through 2020 that, for the respective year, was less than 400% of the poverty level; has — or had expunged — a prior state or federal cannabis-related conviction; a close relative who has a prior cannabis-related conviction; and has lived for at least three years from 2016 through 2020 in an area that has been identified by the Health Department as being disproportionately affected by the enforcement of Arizona’s previous cannabis laws.
Marijuana Industry Trade Association founder Demetri Downing explained that the license winners could immediately sell the licenses if their organization is picked. Applicants have to pay a $4,000 non-refundable fee to enter the lottery. The state has made $6 million from these applicants, the report says.
Arianna Munoz, who has two applications in the lottery for herself and two for her mother told the AP that while “operating a dispensary would be ideal,” selling the dispensary license could create “generational wealth.”
In October, DHHS identified 87 zip codes that qualify for the state’s social equity licenses. The localities include parts of Phoenix and Tucson and some in the smaller border communities of Nogales, Douglas, and San Luis. There is also a heavy focus on areas on or near Native American reservations.
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