Nearly 400 aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs each paid $25,000 for a chance to win one of 13 new business licenses that will be awarded in a lottery.
According to the Arizona Republic, the state Department of Health Services submitted 377 applications for the 13 vertically integrated licenses by the Tuesday deadline.
Just eight rural counties will be eligible to obtain permits: Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Yuma.
It’s uncertain when the licenses will be given out, but a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Health Services told the Republic that the lottery for counties with less than two dispensaries – Cochise, Graham, and Yuma – would take place “sometime in April.”
The licenses for rural areas are expected to be worth at least $5 million, according to industry officials. Permits in cities like Phoenix, on the other hand, are worth closer to $20 million.
In addition, as part of the social equity policy included in Proposition 207, the voter-approved initiative that legalized adult-use marijuana in Arizona last year, the state will issue an additional 26 licenses later this year.