Medical Marijuana

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed briefs with the Arkansas Supreme Court raising legal questions in the state’s expedited appeal of a Pulaski County Circuit Court decision to block the award of medical marijuana cultivation center licenses.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson talking with reporters in his office at the state Capitol.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to expedite an appeal of a judge’s order blocking the issuance of medical marijuana cultivation licenses. He also said Monday that President Donald Trump is ”winning on better trade deals for America” but cautioned against engaging in a trade war with China.

Speaking to reporters in his office Monday, Hutchinson said the state has no choice but to wait for the Supreme Court regarding medical marijuana cultivation licenses.

Arkansas officials have halted their evaluation of applications to sell medical marijuana after a judge struck down the state's licensing process for businesses that want to grow the drug.

One of five companies that had been slated to receive Arkansas' first licenses to grow medical marijuana has asked a state judge to lift his order halting the permitting process and declaring it unconstitutional.

Natural State Wellness Enterprises LLC asked Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday to vacate his order preventing Arkansas from issuing its first medical marijuana cultivation licenses. Griffen last week ruled that the licensing process violated a 2016 voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for patients with certain conditions.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen
PBS

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday declared the state Medical Marijuana Commission’s process of scoring and awarding Arkansas’ first highly-prized licenses to five pot cultivators as “null and void” under the constitutional amendment approved by voters in the November 2016 election.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen
PBS

An Arkansas judge who blocked the state from issuing its first licenses to grow medical marijuana has rejected an effort to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state's application process for cultivation facilities.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Friday rejected the state's argument that Naturalis Health, LLC, a company that unsuccessfully applied for a license, didn't have standing. Griffen also rejected the state's argument that it is immune from the lawsuit.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen
PBS

An Arkansas judge has temporarily blocked the state from issuing licenses to five 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 Wednesday against the state, which had planned to formally issue cultivation licenses later that day. Griffen scheduled a hearing Friday on a request for a preliminary injunction against the state.

marijuana
npr.org

The five companies selected to cultivate medical marijuana in Arkansas should soon be able to set up shop and begin growing. Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance and Administration, said Friday that since the top companies were named last week by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, all have met their  required financial obligations.

"Over the past week we’ve been receiving the licensing fees from the companies, we’ve been receiving the performance bonds, and as of this morning, all five companies have paid," Hardin said.

A medical marijuana firm originally from northeast Arkansas has chosen to build its cultivation plant in the Pine Bluff area.

Natural State Wellness Enterprises had its choice of either Jackson or Jefferson counties because two of its applications were chosen among the top five. But the firm picked Jefferson County on Friday because the state's new medical marijuana law only permits the company to operate one facility.

Company spokesman Bart Calhoun said Monday that the decision was based on economic incentives and the county's central location.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission members Dr. Carlos Roman and James Miller at Tuesday's meeting.
Bobby Amppezan / Arkansas Public Media

A key step in the implementation of Arkansas's voter-approved medical marijuana program took place Tuesday, as five companies were announced who are being offered licenses to grow marijuana. 95 had applied. 

The winning companies were scored individually by the members of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, with key information such as names and other details redacted so there would be no favoritism in who was awarded licenses.

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