Program to create ‘social equity’ licenses for marijuana shops in Arizona hit with lawsuit; Jonathan Udell, Rose Law Group cannabis department co-chair comments

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

A lawsuit filed Thursday seeks to stop Arizona’s social-equity marijuana shop program and prevent big dispensaries from snapping up the 26 lucrative licenses that are intended to help people harmed by old marijuana laws. 

The litigation could delay the state’s plans to issue the licenses early next year.

The complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court says the rules don’t meet the requirements set out in Proposition 207 legalizing adult-use of marijuana, which voters overwhelmingly approved last year.

The measure also requires the state to establish a program for new marijuana shops to benefit communities negatively affected by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.

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“With this lawsuit, Arizona’s social equity program joins the ranks of virtually every social equity across the country. Although this lawsuit has been eagerly anticipated, I would not expect it to last long. Proposition 207 vested the Arizona Department of Health Services with significant discretion to craft rules for the social equity program. There is little chance that a court will find the Department abused its discretion.”

Jonathan Udell, Rose Law Group Cannabis Dept. Co-Chair

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