Arizona Selects Residency Zones To Qualify For Pot Licensing

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials have released a list of dozens of zip codes from areas of the state where applicants for 26 new social equity licenses for marijuana stores must have lived in recent years.

Along with legalizing the sale and recreational use of marijuana for people 21 and older, a voting measure approved by voters last year required the Department of Health Services to issue 26 licenses. retail to people “from communities disproportionately affected by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.”

The 87 postal codes identified by the department on Friday as a residency requirement to apply for these licenses are scattered across the state, including some in Phoenix and Tucson and others in the small border communities of Nogales, Douglas and San Luis.

However, the list appears to be heavily focused on areas on or near Native American reservations, the Arizona Republic reported. These include some in rural areas and others on the outskirts of metropolitan areas.

Arizona has a limited number of licenses for marijuana stores, which makes them very valuable. Including social equity stores, the state will only have 169 licensed locations that can sell marijuana.

The list of zip codes was not accompanied by a detailed explanation of how the department chose the areas, only referred to the general wording of the law, but department spokesman Tom Herrmann said stated that the selection process “involved a thorough review and analysis of a variety of data sources, including criminal justice research and analysis and socio-economic data.”

Under the geographic residency requirement, applicants for social equity licenses must have lived in one of the 87 zip codes for at least three of the past five years. Other criteria include the household income and previous marijuana convictions of the applicant or a family member.

People who obtain social equity licenses must develop and implement policies describing how their business “will benefit one or more communities disproportionately affected by the enforcement of previous Arizona marijuana laws.” , according to the description of the program by the department.

After selecting candidates for eligibility, those who have obtained social equity licenses will be chosen at random, with selection to take place in early 2022, according to the department.

Will Humble, a former director of DHS who is now executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, said the department may not have released detailed information about its selection process for the geographic residence requirement , because he was probably planning to be prosecuted.

“It’s possible the lawyers said the more information we provide, the more ammunition we offer,” Humble said.

Still, says Humble, the list makes sense.

“This is the first time that I am aware that the state of Arizona admits that there are communities that have been unfairly targeted by law enforcement and prosecutors,” he said. declared. “They must have been forced by the voters to admit it.”

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