Current Status of Arizona Marijuana Laws
As of now, medical marijuana is legal within the state of Arizona. Arizona contains the largest medical marijuana program in the country. So, their sales reached $715 million to $730 million in 2019. They also have a high population of medical marijuana patients. Currently, state-licensed businesses can grow, process, transport, and dispense medical marijuana.
However, the Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative will appear on the ballot on November 3, 2020. Now is the time to research the cannabis license application process in Arizona.
The Smart and Safe Arizona Act filed the ballot petition on September 3, 2019. This ballot allows recreational use of marijuana for adults above the age of 21 if passed. If passed, adults will be able to carry up to one ounce of marijuana and have up to 6 cannabis plants per individual per residence. But no more than 12 plants per single residence is allowed.
The ballot requires 237,645 valid signatures and the deadline for these signatures is July 2, 2020. If there are enough signatures, the ballot will be put on the general election ballot. As of March 26, 2020, the ballot contains over 320,000 signatures. If all goes well, marijuana sales will begin on June 1, 2021.
The initiative is promising, so the experts at Quantum 9 explain how cannabis consulting in Arizona can help. With this, it is important to know what will happen when recreational marijuana is legal in Arizona.
Rules and Regulations On Recreational Marijuana
Marijuana would still remain illegal in public places. Also, driving, boating, flying any sort of vehicle while impaired by marijuana would remain illegal. Employers will also have the right to remain a marijuana-free environment. Lastly, individuals will not be able to smoke in public places.
As for local control, a locality can limit and even prohibit the use of land for marijuana establishments. Many voters worry about the number of recreational marijuana facilities that will pop up.
Cannabis License Application Timeline in Arizona
Now, let’s look at the cannabis license application market in Arizona. Within The Smart and Safe Arizona Act, the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for the rules on marijuana regulation. This will include the licensing of marijuana retail stores and cultivation/production facilities.
With this ballot, the department can issue over 100 recreational marijuana facilities.
The Smart and Safe Arizona Act includes a cap on the number of recreational dispensary licenses that are linked to pharmacies. The Department of Health Services states that they may issue no more than one recreational marijuana license for every 10 licensed pharmacies. These licensed pharmacies include any place in which drugs are sold, dispensed, manufactured, or offered for sale.
With the approval of this initiative, the department will first accept license applications between January 19, 2021, and March 9, 2021. The department will accept licenses from early applicants within those dates. With that in mind, cannabis consulting in Arizona is a necessity for all applicants. Now, let’s look at what the requirements are to qualify as an early applicant.
Early Applicants Have An Advantage
Preference is given to early applicants. Approximately 145 licenses are available for early applicants. The first of these early applicants include registered nonprofit medical dispensaries. These applicants can sell medical and recreational products from the same facility.
This is good, as it will not double the number of physical dispensary locations.
The second round of early applicants will include individuals who seek to operate recreational dispensaries in counties with less than two registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries.
After early applicant licenses are issued, the department issues more marijuana establishment licenses to qualified applicants. This will be done by random selection. Also, the licenses issued will be valid for two years.
In addition, the department in Arizona will establish 25 “craft” licenses, these will help those who want to process marijuana but are not affiliated with any big marijuana companies. Additionally, a quarter of these licenses will go to areas lacking existing dispensaries within a 25-mile radius.
All in all, the department will favor cannabis license applications in Arizona that are familiar with the marijuana industry. They will also look at applications that are in good standing with the Arizona Department of Health Services. Since there is a limit, make sure to seek out reliable cannabis consultant firms, such as Quantum 9.
Where Will Tax Revenues Go?
Additionally, there will be a 16 percent tax on all marijuana sales, which is lower than other legal states. This tax will be in addition to the normal sales tax of 5.6 percent. The campaign estimates that it will bring over $300 million in tax revenue.
What About Marijuana Criminal Records?
Anyone convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes can petition for the expungement of criminal records starting on July 12, 2021. The law will also establish a “Justice Reinvestment Fund.” With this fund, 7% of the tax revenue helps support programs and grants that help identify those eligible for expungement. This fund will also help nonprofit services and promote participation from communities affected by prohibition.
In addition to that, The Smart and Safe Arizona Act also includes the establishment of a social equity program. They will provide 26 social equity licenses to communities harmed by prohibition.
Cannabis Consulting in Arizona
The department determines application fees, license fees, and renewal fees for marijuana dispensaries and operations once the law is legal.
Although the legality is not clear, it is important for business investors to utilize cannabis consulting in Arizona markets. The experts at Quantum 9 have a high success rate and are able to guide you with cannabis consulting in Arizona.