To say 2020 was a historic 12 months is an understatement.
Arizona landed in a strong eighth place among the many high ten most profitable hashish states due to its expansive medical hashish program. To shut out the 12 months, voters authorised Proposition 207, also referred to as the Sensible and Protected Arizona Act (SSAA), making Arizona one in all 15 states, plus Washington D.C., to legalize the grownup use of hashish, which is predicted to rocket the state’s general hashish gross sales to new heights.
It’s important to this dialog that we make clear the 2 sides of this quickly rising trade. Medical hashish is a type of remedy, the grownup use and consumption of hashish is a selection. Throughout the pandemic, in lots of medical hashish states, the medical hashish trade was deemed a necessary service and allowed to proceed offering priceless drugs to sufferers and caregivers. As medical hashish applications proceed to offer safer therapeutic choices that are complementary to or function an alternative choice to many conventional therapies and narcotics, particularly opioids, sufferers may be assured the necessity for medical applications will proceed. Arizona’s grownup use hashish program imposes higher limitations on amount and efficiency, whereas additionally requiring increased requirements for packaging. We noticed a pattern through the pandemic as once more, many states prioritized and allowed their medical applications to proceed, whereas limiting grownup use services, in the identical method as different non-essential companies.
It’s additionally price noting that now we have seen many inevitable modifications in affected person behaviors through the pandemic, together with an elevated want for medical hashish. There was a affected person demand for comfort, security and no-contact companies, elevated on-line ordering, scheduling and curbside pick-up or supply. Many of those companies had been already on the rise in recognition all through the assorted authorized states. Whereas Arizona’s leisure program prohibits supply till not less than 2023, retail grownup use customers will count on a few of these companies to increase to the brand new market. As life after the COVID-19 pandemic continues on and the necessity for a few of these safer extra handy choices additionally continues, we hope to see them extra completely carried out from a authorized and regulatory perspective. For now, listed below are the highlights we’ll see come into play within the first few months of 2021 as Arizona adopts its new grownup use hashish program.
Sensible and Protected Arizona Act (Prop 207):
- Legalizes the sale, possession (one ounce) and consumption of grownup use hashish for adults not less than 21 years outdated.
- Provides a 16 % excise tax on grownup use hashish gross sales, along with the state’s 5.6 %, totaling a 21.6 % tax.
- Allocates an estimated $300 million in Arizona income to be divided between neighborhood school districts, municipal police, sheriff and fireplace departments, fireplace districts, freeway funds, public well being applications, infrastructure, and a brand new Justice Reinvestment Fund.
- Allocates greater than $30 million yearly for dependancy prevention, substance remedy, teen suicide prevention, psychological well being applications, and justice reinvestment tasks.
- Supplies alternatives for expungement of sure lesser cannabis-related crimes corresponding to possession, consumption, cultivation or transportation.
However after all, state regulation is only one a part of the equation. Grownup use hashish services have to be licensed individually from state to native ranges, together with counties to cities to native municipalities, all of which can additionally undertake guidelines and necessities via zoning and land use ordinances. Swift and sure timelines established by the Sensible & Protected Act dictate the speedy launch of this new program, first using the present medical hashish infrastructure.
Many Arizona customers are below the impression that they’ll be capable to stroll right into a dispensary on January 1, 2021 and purchase hashish. However that’s not the case. They’ll have to attend till the Arizona Division of Well being Companies (AZDHS) completes the early applicant licensing course of, which begins in January 2021. At present, native and multistate operators are ready for AZDHS to finish the foundations and laws for the grownup use hashish program. Listed below are two of probably the most important steps to be navigated within the upcoming weeks:
Sensible and Protected Arizona Act (Prop 207) – Step 1: The Rulemaking Course of
AZDHS has been tasked with growing the rulemaking course of for the Sensible & Protected Act. The primary draft of the grownup use hashish program guidelines has already been launched, primarily consisting of the appliance necessities for the early applicant course of. AZDHS collected its first spherical of public feedback for consideration on Thursday, December 17, 2020. The precise particulars and parameters of the grownup use hashish program is not going to be finalized or recognized for sure till AZDHS completes the rulemaking course of. We anticipate the subsequent draft of grownup use hashish guidelines to be launched someday in early January.
Sensible and Protected Arizona Act (Prop 207) – Step 2: The Utility Course of
AZDHS will start accepting early candidates below the Sensible & Protected Act on January 19, 2021, closing the method on March 9, 2021. Present medical hashish license holders who apply for and purchase an grownup use license within the early applicant course of will probably be approved to a dual-licensed dispensary (each medical and grownup use license), in addition to one offsite manufacturing facility (which can later be amended to incorporate each medical and grownup use manufacturing license), and offsite cultivation.
Early grownup use license candidates are reserved for those who at present maintain in good standing not less than one Medical Marijuana Registration Certificates (“Medical Marijuana License”) and candidates making use of to counties with no present working dispensaries. Any county with a single working dispensary (a medical hashish dispensary) will probably be allotted an grownup use license (twin license) so long as the medical license holder is in good standing for the appliance. All grownup use licenses allotted to these counties with no present working dispensary should maintain that dispensary inside that county.
AZDHS could have 60 days to course of every utility. Grownup use licenses for counties with no present working dispensary will probably be allotted via a random choice course of, if greater than two purposes are acquired for that county. Moreover, upon the conclusion of the early applicant course of, any grownup use license that has not but been awarded via that course of, will probably be accessible to most of the people and allotted via a random choice course of.
This brings us to later phases of implementation of the Sensible & Protected Act: inside roughly six months of the adoption of the preliminary leisure program guidelines, AZDHS should develop and undertake the foundations and laws for the Social Fairness Possession Program (SEOP). The first aim of the SEOP is to allocate 26 grownup use licenses to “communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of earlier hashish legal guidelines.” In different phrases, communities disproportionately and negatively impacted by hashish criminalization. Sensible & Protected is gentle on the precise method and course of at this level, so Arizona voters and hashish corporations will look to AZDHS for the event and implementation of this essential a part of the grownup use program. Keep tuned.