AZ social equity cannabis licenses mainly benefited dispensary giants

Would-be partners have offered Abel Ochoa “crazy amounts of money” for the social equity marijuana license he and his cousin own.

“I had somebody offer me $17 million,” he said, laughing. “If I would’ve just took the money, like yeah, that would’ve been nice. But what, what would’ve been the purpose behind it?”

He and his cousin, Diana Pineda, turned them all down. Ochoa instead borrowed a nominal amount of cash from his parents, who own a small restaurant. He and Pineda are now the only social equity license holders, out of 26, who both own and control their own dispensary.

The other 25 are controlled, and in many cases owned outright, by partners — mainly multistate cannabis companies.

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