Arizona officials are set to hold a drawing next month for social-equity cannabis licenses. In all, there are 26 licenses set aside for individuals from communities that were disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
The state Health Department said in a press release that more than 1,500 applications for the licenses were filed but it is not yet clear how many of those will make it into the April 8 drawing.
The lottery will be conducted by New Jersey-based Smartplay International Inc. which is used throughout the U.S. for state lottery and raffle drawings. The company serves more than 400 lottery, gaming, and promotional organizations in 114 countries. The accounting and auditing firm Henry and Horne will oversee the drawing, the agency said.
The drawing will be held at the Arizona Department of Health Services with industry and news media representatives witnessing and streamed live on the agency website.
Under the state’s social equity requirements, principal officers or board members of the applying company holding at least 51% ownership in the entity must meet three of four criteria, including having an annual household income in at least three of the years from 2016 through 2020 that, for the respective year, was less than 400% of the poverty level; has – or had expunged – a prior state or federal cannabis-related conviction; a close relative who has a prior cannabis-related conviction; and has lived for at least three years from 2016 through 2020 in an area that has been identified by the Health Department as being disproportionately affected by the enforcement of Arizona’s previous cannabis laws.