Arizona’s cannabis social equity program faces new legal challenge

By Katya Schwenk | Phoenix New Times

With less than two weeks remaining before the state of Arizona plans to issue 26 “social equity” cannabis licenses, a new lawsuit over the program could delay the drawing.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Maricopa County Superior Court on behalf of three social equity applicants. It alleges that the Arizona Department of Health Services has not fully vetted the 1,500 applicants in the license lottery, even as the drawing nears.

If the drawing is not pushed back, attorneys argue, then the state might issue social equity licenses that will later be revoked. This, they argue, will jeopardize the social equity program and dilute qualified applicants’ chances of winning, because the state would consider a pool of bidders that could include ineligible bidders.

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