Arizona bill aims to reclaim social equity licenses from investors, corporate marijuana dispensaries – Arizona Digital Free Press

Today, just one original applicant fully owns their social equity license and has opened a dispensary independent of large cannabis companies. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)By Natasha Yee | Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Arizona lawmakers are pushing to return social equity licenses for marijuana dispensaries to their original owners, alleging private investors and cannabis corporations used predatory tactics to seize control of nearly all the lucrative licenses. 

Senate Bill 1262, introduced by Republican Sen. Sonny Borrelli, seeks to restore power to those the state’s social equity program was actually meant to benefit: people from marginalized communities disproportionately affected by past marijuana convictions. It would also allow the state Attorney General’s Office to investigate and punish entities that exploited those individuals.

“What we have here is an injustice that needs to be fixed,” Borrelli, of Lake Havasu City, said during a Feb. 13 Senate hearing. “We now have here in Arizona a situation where 24 of 26 of these social equity licenses are now fully controlled by companies or people who do not belong in these special groups to get this license.” 

The legislation comes less than a year after extensive reporting by AZCIR showed the social equity program— part of

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