June 22, 2018, Arkansas
Cannabis cultivation in Arkansas hasn’t started yet, thanks to a drawn-out legal battle. In February, the state’s medical cannabis commission awarded five ventures to commence marijuana cultivation after the delay of 18 months. However, soon after, the process of awarding cultivation license was challenged by a couple of applicants that failed to get the license, terming it as flawed and full of irregularities.
They appealed against the process in a county court. After several hearings, the court gave the decision in the favor of failed candidates and stopped the licensed cultivators from starting operations. Later on, the state challenged the decision in the Supreme Court. After due process and hearing all the sides, Arkansas’s apex court has given the verdict in the favor of successful applicants. Patients in the state are now hoping that they will get their MMJ medications very soon.
Arkansas’s Medical Marijuana Program
At the beginning of the year, things were looking pretty normal when the state was about to formally start its medical marijuana operations in the legal environment. Around 5,500 patients had already been registered with the program and local cultivators were about to begin their operations.
At that time, it was predicted that legal MMJ products would be available by mid-summer. However, the disgruntled unsuccessful growers derailed the whole process. They blamed the commission to be biased in awarding the license. Pulaski County’s Circuit court acknowledged the grievances of failed applicants and halted the licensing process.
Sovereign Immunity Didn’t Work
Even though, the Supreme Court has set a precedent to restate the state’s constitutional right of sovereign immunity. This provision entails that no one can sue the state and its governing bodies. However, the appeal of one cultivation company Naturalis Health LLC succeeded in setting a new precedent when it was taken up by the county court. The court ruled several aspects of the reviewing and licensing process flawed and unconstitutional.
Supreme Court Fast-Tracked the Case
Supreme Court should be commended for giving the case a priority and fast-tracked its hearings. This is the reason why the verdict has come out within one month’s period time. Some legal experts were of the thought that it was an open-and-shut case because a local court doesn’t have the jurisdiction to overwrite the provision of the state’s constitution.
The stance of these experts has finally vindicated by the Supreme Court’s decision. The apex court has simply removed the injunction put by the county court to halt the process by using the same rationale.
Local Cultivation is Important
Since marijuana is a Schedule I drug as per federal legislation, therefore its interstate transportation is not a feasible idea for any state to run their legal operations. This is the reason why local cultivation is really crucial for any statewide medical marijuana program.
With Supreme Court green-lighting the licensed growers to start their cultivation process, one can hope that Arkansas’ MMJ patient will be able to get their medicines by the end of this year.
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]