Arizona to Unveil Licenses and Draft Rules For Legal Cannabis Market

Arizona officials are moving things along for the state’s upcoming adult-use cannabis market.
Arizona to Unveil Licenses and Draft Rules For Legal Cannabis Market
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Arizona just announced draft rules for their adult use market, which was officially legalized by Proposition 207 in the November election this year. The state also announced the fact that some cannabis licenses will be up for grabs for new companies looking to join the industry. 

Most of the open licenses in the state for the recreational industry have already been promised to the businesses already involved in the medical industry, as they had first dibs. However, there will be about 12 licenses available to those in underserved and rural communities, meaning a handful of businesses can still get in from the ground up.

The state also officially unveiled the first round of draft rules for the legal cannabis market, which is poised to launch in March of next year if all goes according to plans that may seem ambitious to some. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has come up with these rules, which also call for a $25,000 application fee for new locations. and while it may seem like a quick turnaround is needed, those eager to get going in the legal industry think it’s doable.

“My confidence level has been high [that] they (state regulators) will meet the deadlines,” Steve White, CEO of Arizona-based Harvest Health & Recreation, a medical dispensary in Arizona, said regarding the date for opening the industry up within the state borders. “They have been given very aggressive timelines before and met them.”

Rules, Equity, Et Cetera

In addition to the 12 or so general licenses up for grabs, another initiative will soon allow for 26 social equity licenses for those most impacted by the war on drugs. That program is still in the works, but those licenses will allow even more marginalized people a chance at the Arizona cannabis industry.

The draft rules, which were announced alongside the licenses on December 10, is the first set of regulations about the industry, with more to be written soon to even further clarify. The public commenting period on these rules will wrap up on December 17, at which time the comments will be evaluated alongside the proposed regulations. 

According to these new rules and regulations from the Arizona Department of Health Services, existing medical cannabis businesses looking to also do recreational business and those seeking the few remaining licenses not already claimed can begin applying in January. 

“As with other rule-writing activity, ADHS will engage with stakeholders and entities that will be affected by Proposition 207, take public comment, and develop final rules for ‘social equity’ licenses through a public process,” Arizona Department of Health Services Spokesman Steve Elliott explained regarding the new regulations and how they ill be further developed. 

While not all the draft rules are set in stone, they do set out a basic framework, including how testing facilities will operate and how licenses will be given out. This is incredibly important to those looking to enter the industry, and is setting the stage for Arizona to meet its goal of having an adult industry by early spring. 

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