March 16, 2018, Arkansas
Circuit judge in Polanski Country, Arkansas, directed the state regulators to temporarily block the issuance of cultivation licenses to MMJ growing companies. The verdict came following the lawsuits alleging discrepancies in the process. A provisional restraining order has been issued by Wendell Griffen, the honorable county judge, stopping the state regulators from awarding cultivation licenses to five MMJ companies that had been classified eligible to grow medical strains of cannabis.
Arkansas’ Medical Marijuana Commission postponed its meeting to formally issue the permits to respective MMJ companies after the verdict. Judge Griffen passed the verdict on the lawsuit filed by Naturalis Health, one of the MMJ growing companies which failed to secure the cultivation license. A further hearing has been scheduled for today where the circuit court will mull over the possibility of launching a lawsuit against the state.
According to the ruling given by the court, the evidence furnished by the plaintiff indicates strong chances of the exploitation of merit by violating Act of Administrative Procedure and by not following the due process.
Lawsuit filed by two different MMJ growing companies alleged the same issues with the process of issuing growing license. Apart from these lawsuits, various other failed applicants have posted letters of complaint to the MMJ commission indicating substantial violations and discrepancies in the process.
In February, the commission publicized the list of five companies succeeded in scoring the cultivation permit. The commission made this announcement after reviewing the applications of more than 90 MMJ growing companies. Last week, all five successful companies submitted the license fee of $100,000. Moreover, each of them also posted half a million performance bond. It is another mandatory requirement to acquire the cultivation license.
The commission evaluated all the applications and assigned a score to each. The scoring criteria are based on multiple factors such as experience in the domain of commercial cultivation and financial status. The five companies, which were awarded the growing permit, scored highest among all the applicants.
Lawsuits also blame the commission for tarnishing the newly introduced program for the welfare of MMJ patients and are approved and supported by the voters of the state. Plaintiffs have also reminded the state of its responsibilities to not only the plaintiffs, but also the residents of the state for whom the program has been put into effect.
Arkansas is the first state in Southern part of the country to legalize medical cannabis. Voters in the state approved a legislative amendment two years ago to allow medical cannabis for patients with particular health conditions. The regulators have processed applications of more than 4,400 MMJ patients in the state, who will get their MMJ cards 30 days prior to the availability of drugs at authorized dispensaries.
The state’s cannabis commission has a plan to issue permits to 30 MMJ dispensaries by the end of the year. This delay in awarding cultivation license might affect the progress on retail sales of medicinal cannabis as well.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]