As the December deadline to apply for 26 coveted social equity cannabis dispensary licenses approaches, the Arizona Department of Health Services recently revised criteria for ownership, bringing a rare round of praise for the department’s efforts.
Social equity advocates such as Arizona NORML and a coalition of stakeholders have been critical of ADHS and previous draft rules because they believed loopholes created incentives for powerful players who already control much of the industry to game the system.
The main change being lauded is a key provision that apparently closes a loophole that would allow a single individual or entity to sponsor an unlimited number of social equity licenses.
The rules now state that anyone entitled to 10% or more of the applicant’s profits is limited to two applications.
“Arizonans not only voted to legalize cannabis for adult-use but also supported a sustainable social equity program to those Arizonans who have been disproportionately impacted by the harsh prohibition of marijuana,” Arizona NORML Director Mike Robinette said via email. “This new rule now defines a program that is more in accordance with voter expectations and demonstrates the ADHS has been listening to stakeholders