PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As the marijuana industry continues to grow in Arizona, one of the big remaining questions relates to social equity licenses. These are licenses given to people in communities disproportionately impacted by old marijuana laws, and the impact for whoever receives them could be life-changing.
Arianna Munoz is one person who plans on applying for these licenses. The Phoenix native has a rocky history when it comes to her relationship with marijuana, including multiple possession charges.
"I had to have an ankle monitor for a week," Munoz said. "It was like totally embarrassing. It felt like it ruined my life."
Not to mention the impact it had on the rest of her family.
"My father has also been affected by the drug war," Munoz said. "He actually just got out serving almost 18 years in prison for cannabis."
But through all the hardships, Arianna's continued to stay connected to cannabis.
"It's been my dream to own a dispensary," Munoz said. "And they kept telling me you can't make money in the industry, it's not a good job, you can't do it. And that fueled my passion in the cannabis industry. It was always like I'm going to do this, I'm going to show you I can do this, I'm going to make generational wealth for my family."
Arianna's now one step closer to that becoming a reality, after living in one of the 87 zip codes approved last Friday by the Arizona Department of Health Services for social equity licenses.
"These are 10 million dollar plus licenses being issued," Marijuana Industry Trade Association's Demitri Downing said. "This is the biggest lottery that I'm familiar with."
Only 26 licenses are available, and anyone in the approved zip codes must meet three of the following four criteria:
1.) Have had a household income less than four times the federal poverty level for three of the past five years.
2.) Have a previous marijuana conviction for which they've been granted expungement.
3.) Have e a spouse, parent, child, sibling or guardian who was convicted of a marijuana crime.
4.) Have lived for at least three of the past five years in a “community that has been disproportionately affected by the enforcement of Arizona’s previous marijuana laws."
As for Arianna, she checks all of the requirements. So she and other qualifying members of her family plan on applying for these licenses to better their chances of being selected.
"I have very high hopes that I will win," Munoz said. "Just because I believe in karma."
If you're interested in applying for a social equity license, the application process begins in December.