Unlike the Rural County Program, licenses issued under the Social Equity Property Program will not be tied to a specific county or location.
According to Richard, with Tucson’s relatively favorable zoning laws, he expects a few more dispensaries to spring up as a result of the program.
“I’m pretty sure there will be at least a few more dispensaries moving to town,” he said.
The future of
Once the state issues 26 social equity licenses next year, the total will be 169 active licenses, although at the time of publication only around 125 are attached to active retail outlets.
By comparison, Washington, a state with a population similar to Arizona’s of over 7 million, has more than 1,000 dispensaries – not just licensing, but retail dispensaries. Oklahoma, a state with roughly half of Arizona’s population, has more than 2,000.
Richard explained that the relatively low number of dispensaries per capita in Arizona compared to other states is due to two factors: Voters don’t want the program to end “like Oklahoma or California, with dispensaries in every corner, ”he said – and makes the marijuana industry still seen as part of the black market.
“Many cities and counties still treat marijuana much like pawn shops and gentlemen’s clubs,” he said.