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AZ Department of Health Services Updates Information for Adult-use Cannabis Legalization 2021

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Cannabis Legalization Timeline

Marijuana Establishments

A Marijuana Establishment is an entity licensed by the Department to operate a single retail location at which the licensee may sell marijuana to adults who are at least 21 years of age.

Dual Licensee

A dual licensee is an entity that holds both a Nonprofit Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificate and a Marijuana Establishment License.

A dual licensee may operate a single retail location where the licensee may dispense medical marijuana to registered qualifying patients and their designated caregivers, and sell marijuana to adults who are at least 21 years of age.

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Applications for Marijuana Establishments

Early Applicants

The Department will accept applications for Marijuana Establishment Licenses from Early Applicants from January 19, 2021 through March 9, 2021.

An Early Applicant is either of the Following:

  1. An entity seeking to operate a marijuana establishment in a county with fewer than two registered Nonprofit Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.
  2. A Nonprofit Medical Marijuana that is registered and in good standing with the Department.
    1. Good standing means that the Nonprofit Medical Marijuana Dispensary is not the subject of a pending Notice of Intent to Revoke issued by the Department.
Social Equity Ownership Program Applicants

The Department will issue 26 Marijuana Establishment licenses to applicants who qualify under the Social Equity Ownership Program.

The Department must first adopt rules to create and implement a Social Equity Ownership Program to promote the ownership and operation of marijuana establishments by individuals disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws. During the rulemaking, the Department will post drafts and accept public comments.

The Department will begin accepting applications for these 26 licenses within 6 months of adopting the final rules for the Social Equity Ownership Program.

The Department does not currently have a timeline for this rulemaking; however, the website will be updated as more information becomes available.

Limitation on Number of Marijuana Establishments

After issuing licenses to qualified Early Applicants and to the applicants who qualify under the Social Equity Ownership Program, the Department may not issue more than one Marijuana Establishment License for every 10 registered pharmacies in Arizona.


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