Pot shop ‘equity’ licenses limited to certain ZIP codes

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

The Arizona Department of Health Services filled in the final blank, announcing Friday the geographic requirements for people who plan to apply for “social equity” licenses to run marijuana shops.

The Smart and Safe Arizona Act voters passed last year not only legalized possession and sales of marijuana to people 21 or older but also calls for 26 new shop licenses to go to people “from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.”

Defining exactly which communities fit that description was not detailed in the ballot measure but was left to the ADHS officials to define. They have now done so.

Essentially, ADHS has defined those communities as 87 of the state’s approximately 500 ZIP codes. ADHS posted a list of those ZIP codes online Friday without publishing an explanation as to how the agency determined those areas were the most impacted by previous marijuana laws.

The rules say a person must have had a physical address in one of the ZIP codes and lived at it for at least three of the past five years. While the state has about 500 codes, many are for post office boxes only.

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