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Arkansas Judge Blocks State From Licensing Medical Marijuana Growers

March 14, 2018
(csfotoimages/iStock)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the state from awarding its first licenses for companies to grow medical marijuana in response to complaints about the state’s process for reviewing applications for the facilities.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state from issuing permits to five companies that had qualified to grow marijuana. Hours after the order was issued, the state Medical Marijuana Commission postponed the hearing it had scheduled Wednesday to formally award the licenses.

Related

Arkansas Announces 5 Companies Picked to Grow Medical Marijuana

Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 legalizing medical marijuana for patients with certain conditions. The commission is expected later this year to license up to 32 dispensaries to sell the drug.

All five companies by last Friday had paid the $100,000 licensing fee and posted the $500,000 performance bond needed to receive the licenses.

Griffen issued the order in response to a lawsuit by Naturalis Health LLC, which was denied a permit. The judge scheduled a hearing Friday morning to consider the firm’s request for a preliminary injunction against the state.

“The court hereby finds that the verified complaint asserts facts showing a substantial likelihood of success on the merits regarding violations of the Administrative Procedures Act, due process and equal protection and that Naturalis Health LLC will suffer irreparable harm absent entry of a temporary restraining order,” Griffen wrote in his two-page ruling.

The lawsuit claims that the state’s process for awarding the cultivation licenses has been flawed, saying the applications for the winning companies showed wide-ranging discrepancies and outright violations of the rules. Other unsuccessful applicants have sent letters to the commission in recent days with similar complaints.

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What’s Behind All the Delays in Newly Legal States?

The commission last month announced the top five scoring applicants from the 95 applications it had received. All five companies by last Friday had paid the $100,000 licensing fee and posted the $500,000 performance bond needed to receive the licenses. The applications were scored by each of the five commissioners on several factors, including business experience, qualifications and finances.

The lawsuit contends that the state “caused a complete distrust in the newly implemented medical marijuana industry, approved by Arkansas voters, to serve the medicinal needs of qualifying Arkansans.

“Arkansas is the first state in the South to legalize medical marijuana. The state has an obligation not only to plaintiff, but to its citizens, to get this right,” the lawsuit states.

Arkansas has approved 4,410 applications for patients to use medical marijuana, and will issue registry cards about a month before the drug is expected to be available legally.

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  • Ctriplett88

    Thia is rediculous.

  • Jeffrey Avery

    i bet it was dr rhonda ??? that scored those other doc’s 98% on the other doctor’s application.——-the fact that she’s a doc-kinda makes you wonder——-she happens to be the one,in the begining,to make that non-funny joke about “”if all the mmj were supositories etc…””it was upsetting to here this from a so called professional,,not so professional in the mmj patients eyes,disheartening is more like it…..i wrote an excoriating letter,via you tube post…2 days later,the you tube vid with joke was gone,and one vid showed them discussing ,not discussing such jokes….ya,someone got there asses jumped,i’m almost possitive ,of it….can no-one play by the rules any more…….they’ve got everything,,and they still game the system(rich people/doc’s,politicians etc…)…and they wonder why the public hates and distrusts people of power and authority.oh,,,alledgedly

    THERE NEEDS TO BE A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION,OVER THIS…………..AND HOW DO YOU MAKE THE PEOPLE OF ARKANSAS,ESPEACIALLY THE PATIENTS, WHOLE AGAIN,,,AN OPPOLOGY FOR THE TIME WAISTED (the sick can’t wait)AND THE DISTRUST,THAT HAS ARROSE FROM THIS INSIDENT….SHAME SHAME….
    arkansas resident,and patient

  • Jeffrey Avery

    welcome to the natural state,,,where we can take something that’s natural and good and totally f— it up with rules and regs,,,just like anywhere else thow,,,we got a lot of dumb people in charge,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • TOBY T

    I just hope we are all able to see and remember who the officials are that stand in the way. Some of these officials are ELECTED. It takes a little time, but we can fix this. These idiots forget who they actually represent . VOTE THEM OUT. These people that stand in the way have never sat and held someone’s hand while they scream with pain as they slowly die, because the man made drugs that we’re prescribed to him don’t help. Don’t worry though, we managed. What a shame. So keep people suffering, your scams and greed are much more important.

  • smoother

    First fuck-up, the wrong mmj law is now the law of the land. The other ballot choice for mmj was far superior to what that the judge ruled was the winner. I know folks who were involved in writing the other, disallowed by judge ballot measure. That was a much better law that would have been a much wider benefit to Arkies but the voters there are no different than elsewhere….stupid, uninformed, ignorant, bumper sticker philosophers incapable of rational thinking.

    Second, hey, it’s Arkansas. Aside from the very few liberal, smart people I know living there, the rest are pretty much gun totin’, Drumpf voters, racists, knuckledraggers, ignorant, mean spirited, did I mention racists?, fearful, homophobes. And, that’s when they’re in a good mood.
    I fled that state a few years after returning from Viet Nam. Growing up there, it was painfully obvious that this gay boy had no livable future there. Now, having lived the BEST part of life here in Northern California, I look with some sadness, pity, disgust and resignation at Arkansas. Always shitty, always will be.
    Oh, now that we are ‘legal’ here in the Golden State, it’s proven, once again, that any time the government gets involved in anything, it’s fucked up. Dispensaries are doing very well complying with all the ridiculous, pointless and degrading conditions leveled on all of us. Meanwhile, the price per pound has dropped to around $300. Back in the day, $3500.

    Good luck, goobers. You may not have the government you want but you have the government you deserve.

  • smoother

    You didn’t post my comment? What in the world did I write that was so horrible?
    Whatsup?

  • Truepatriot_56

    There’s never gonna be mmj here. (Arkansas) the state too corrupt. Porposal 7 was the real mmj act, what we got’s just crap.

    • C Gosnell

      Connecticut is extremely corrupt, thankfully the program works here (somewhat anyway).