State to hold drawing for social equity marijuana establishment licenses; Jonathan Udell, Rose Law Group cannabis department co-chair, speaks to business barriers

By Megan Myscofski | Arizona Public Media

The Arizona Department of Health Services will hold a drawing next week for social equity marijuana establishment licenses. 1,500 people applied for 26 licenses.

The social equity licenses are required by the same ballot measure that legalized marijuana in 2020.

Jonathan Udell the political director Arizona NORML, an organization that helps people navigate the expungement provisions of that proposition. He’s also co-chair of Rose Law Group’s Cannabis Department. He said even with the equity license, there are a lot of cost barriers to getting a dispensary going.

“You’re a person with a criminal record who’s made a relatively modest amount of money during your career, and now you’re trying to convince someone who’s got millions and millions of dollars that they should give you $2 million, and let you keep control of the business,” Udell said.

His firm submitted 20% of the applications for the drawing, and he believes there are many more than 1,500 people who qualify. He said the low number of applicants is in part because the state did little to promote it.


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March 2022