Arizona unveils applicant criteria for new recreational cannabis retail permits

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Arizona regulators announced a list of 87 ZIP codes across the state where applicants for 26 social equity retail marijuana licenses must have recently resided.

The 2020 ballot measure passed by voters legalizing adult-use marijuana business requires the state health department to issue the 26 licenses to applicants “from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.”

Applicants must have lived in a ZIP code for at least three of the five past years, the Arizona Republic reported.

Other scoring criteria include past marijuana convictions of the applicant or family member as well as household income.

The list appears to focus on ZIP codes in proximity to Native American reservations, according to the Republic.

“This is the first time I’m aware of the state of Arizona has basically admitted there are some communities that have been unfairly targeted by law enforcement and prosecutors,” Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, told the newspaper.

“They had to be forced by voters to admit it.”

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The licenses are expected to be awarded in early 2022, after the screen process is complete, the Republic reported.

The additional 26 licenses will bring the total adult-use retail stores in Arizona to 169.