Arizona’s Social Equity Program Gives Prev. Cannabis Offenders First Dibs

When Arizona voters legalized recreational cannabis use last year, the new measure housed provisions that intended to provide the chance of a lifetime to people affected the most by the War on Drugs: a lottery to win a license to operate a dispensary in Arizona.

Today, the closing licenses to sell retail cannabis in Arizona are set to be handed out via the social equity program, which strives to right the wrongs imposed by asymmetrical policing of cannabis offenses. Some believe that these licenses are undoubtedly worth a lot of money; Some would argue a cannabis operator’s license is worth possibly tens of millions of dollars. Additionally, the measure was instilled as launching people with simple cannabis offenses directly into the industry.

However, some cannabis advocates maintain the reality is that political hurdles, corporate greed, red tape, and a quickly incorporating cannabis market will push those profits directly into the pockets of large cannabis companies designed to limit competition and capitalize on the few billions made retailing cannabis in Arizona.

As it was entitled in Proposition 207, the poll measure voters passed in 2020 to legalize recreational cannabis. Furthermore, the social equity program is designed to give minority neighborhoods, those historically most influenced by the War on Drugs, an expedited track commanding 26 dispensary licenses.

And any individual who desires to be registered into the lottery to win a social equity license for Arizona must provide a non-refundable $5,000 application fee following taking two training classes on separate occasions. However, if you are reading this, it is too late. The deadline to complete the classes mentioned above is earlier this week. If you heard of this program 60 days ago, then there would be a chance for you to have won a social equity cannabis license.

Those who’ve completed the training must submit their applications by December 1 of this year.

The instituted cannabis sector is keen to discover social equity applicants. Houses in the conditional ZIP codes have been enveloped with mail (pun intended) and the typical door-hangers from big cannabis businesses hunting the state for applicants who qualify.

Along highways in Phoenix, advertisements from big cannabis dispensaries and cultivators are billboarding their intent to assist qualifying applicants with the process. 

Yeah, we bet they are.

Some big cannabis companies have even set up websites. One such site (which we won’t give any free promotion) was set up by Copperstate Farms. The latter is one of the largest cultivators of cannabis in the entire country, hosting a 40-acre operation on the outskirts of Snowflake, Arizona.

‘The quantity of general knowledge of the program is deficient,’ Doug Cole, a spokesperson for Copperstate Farms, generally stated. ‘We are assisting applicants in succeeding and being great under the new social equity program for cannabis.’

Copperstate has been assisting with expungement clinics across many cities in Arizona. One of the fitting criteria for applicants, besides groups like NORML to find appropriate applicants, often offers a monetary stimulus of up to $500 to those who are eligible and refer someone who qualifies.’

Again: We bet.

Copperstate bought a dispensary license in Phoenix, AZ., for an astonishing $15 million in cash. Copperstate established cannabis dispensaries, selling for just north of $20 million. Arizona cannabis dispensaries have published statements showcasing more than $51 million in retail sales every month except one (March.) The state is on speed in its first year of retail cannabis to exceed $1 billion in recreational sales. Wall Street economists project sales will balloon to more than $2 billion within the next three years.

We here at Stickyleaf will keep you posted on all cannabis happenings in Arizona.

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