Social Equity Partners Connects Local Investors with Eligible Applicants Keeping Money in Arizona Communities
I established Social Equity Partners to help identify applicants for adult-use recreational cannabis dispensary licenses with non-violent felony convictions on their records. With the passing of Prop 207 in November, Arizona became the 13th state to legalize recreational marijuana. As part of this initiative, 26 licenses were earmarked for dispensary licenses specifically for Arizona residents with felony convictions on their record as a way of balancing harms created by discriminatory police practices and draconian drug prohibition. I understand the difficulties presented by a felony drug conviction and was myself convicted in 2001 of possession of marijuana.
When Prop 207 passed and with it the Social Equity Program, it became clear that my unique experiences with entrepreneurship, product, and brand development, and the criminal justice system qualified me to help Arizona residents with convictions on their records apply for and obtain dispensary licenses. The Arizona Social Equity Program’s application process is complicated and expensive, which is one of the primary reasons I founded Social Equity Partners. Our goal is to provide funding, guidance, and support through the entire process.
Because legal cannabis sales are still federally prohibited, the funding necessary to start a dispensary cannot come from traditional investment sources like banks or credit unions. My connections to hard money investors allow potential dispensary licensees to cover the application fee, which is in the thousands of dollars, and verify proof of access to $500k as required by the Social Equity Program. Clearly, these financial hurdles remove many potential applicants immediately. An unintended consequence of these requirements is the heavy investment by foreign companies in legal cannabis sales. This foreign money does nothing to empower communities and hinders the growth of regional economies by pulling profits out of the neighborhoods the program is intended to benefit.
Social Equity Partners takes our support one step further by offering qualified licensees the opportunity to establish a fully conceptualized dispensary under the ELEVATE brand. We aim to bring cannabis culture into the 21st century and provide a curated experience for discerning cannabis consumers. ELEVATE offers a turnkey solution for our partners. With multiple locations planned throughout Arizona, we look to be the industry leader while reinvesting in our local communities to provide a better tomorrow. Unlike other dispensaries, we are entirely local from our operators to our investor pool, so we keep all profits and tax revenue in our neighborhoods instead of foreign bank accounts.
Our partners retain the majority share of their dispensary, and Social Equity Partners remains committed to keeping money in communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, which are primarily lower income. Restoring balance to these neighborhoods is our primary goal, and to accomplish this, Arizona needs to keep foreign investment in legal cannabis out. Our process is simple. Our goal is clear. As legal cannabis sales expand throughout the state, we will stay focused on uplifting our communities and empowering Arizona natives that have been unfairly impacted by outdated drug laws.