Arkansas fights to dismiss racial-bias marijuana dispensary suit

Arkansas state attorneys say that a medical marijuana lawsuit filed by a Black-owned company should be dismissed on the grounds that the suit was filed too late and that courts don’t have legal authority to overturn the licensing decision.

Absolute Essence in Little Rock filed the suit two weeks ago, claiming racial bias in being passed over for a dispensary license in 2017 while less-qualified applicants received licenses.

The company persuaded Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray to temporarily prevent Arkansas MMJ regulators from licensing any new dispensaries until a Feb. 28 court hearing, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

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The suit comes as the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission wants to license two more dispensaries, although such a move requires approval from the Arkansas Legislative Council.

In its motion for the lawsuit to be dismissed, the state attorney general’s office challenged court authority to review commission licensing decisions and added that the statute of limitations to file such a lawsuit had passed, according to the Democrat-Gazette.