New lawsuit filed over Arizona’s adult-use marijuana social equity licensing

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Arizona regulators are facing a third lawsuit over adult-use marijuana social equity licensing in the state.

According to the Phoenix New Times, the latest suit, filed last week in Maricopa County Superior Court, requests a delay for a scheduled April 8 lottery to determine the winners of 26 coveted social equity marijuana retail permits.

The lawsuit alleges that the Arizona health department has not fully vetted the roughly 1,500 applicants for the social equity lottery to confirm they are eligible under state law.

If the lottery isn’t delayed for fuller vetting, the suit claims, the state might be forced to revoke some of the 26 licenses it plans to award after the April 8 drawing.

That means the state could wind up with fewer than 26 social equity operators, attorney Paul Conant told the New Times on behalf of his three social equity applicant clients who filed the suit.

The three plaintiffs all work with a company called Brachium Prime.

However, a DOH spokesperson told the New Times that if any of the 26 lottery winners are later disqualified, the agency would simply pick replacement winners. Under state law, the spokesperson said, a total of 169 adult-use marijuana licenses must be issued, including the 26 for social equity candidates.

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Two other lawsuits already have been filed with a focus on the social equity licenses:

  • One, by the Greater Phoenix Urban League and Acre 41, was dismissed in February.
  • The other, by Black Seed, is pending, according to the New Times.