By David Abbott | Tucson Weekly
In another legislative session that is dragging on to the monsoons of summer, one lone cannabis bill has settled over the statehouse like a dusty haboob, as strike-everything House Bill 2050 provides an olio of legislative fixes that have drawn mixed reactions from across the marijuana firmament.
While the bill attempts to address several aspects of the business, from research to testing to cost reductions for veterans, a key part of HB2050 seeks to increase access to cannabis and help social equity applicants by changing adult-use licenses to “dual licenses” and allowing medical alongside recreational sales.
The social equity program is designed to repair some of the harms associated with the decades-long war on drugs by giving ownership opportunities to individuals impacted by previous drug laws.
The change in licensing could help solve zoning issues in places like Tucson that are not set up to accommodate adult-use-only establishments. It would also increase access in rural communities where there are vast distances between dispensaries.
According to Jon Udell, AZNORML’s Director of Politics, HB2050 can assist the 26 social equity applicants by helping them get their businesses off the ground within the 18-month timeframe that began in April by “circumventing zoning problems” that exist in urban centers that have not adjusted local regulations to accommodate adult-use licenses.
“There’s virtually nowhere right now that’s zoned appropriately for adult-use only,” he said. “There’s a bunch of places that allow for dual licensees where you have medical as the primary use and adult use as an accessory use, so if we can circumvent the zoning problems by getting this done, it’s huge, huge, huge [for social equity licensees.”]