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US (AZ): Rules for social equity cannabis program finalized

Rules for what could be the last cannabis dispensary licenses issued by Arizona have been finalized by the state’s health department.

The final draft report by the Arizona Department of Health Services’ “social equity ownership program” was issued Thursday. In general, the program is intended to “promote the ownership and operation of cannabis establishments [… ] by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous cannabis laws,” according to the department’s website.

The major changes include clearing up language around the transferability of a social equity license. It effectively bars applicants from entering into prior agreements with larger retailers to sell or take over an applicant’s license. The initial application fee of $5,000, which is non-refundable, was also lowered to $4,000.

However, critics and potential applicants to the program contend that, while the final draft closes a big loophole, it still falls short of establishing a truly equitable program.


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