Arkansas halts review of medical marijuana dispensary applications

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Arkansas regulators have stopped reviewing applications from businesses that want to sell medical cannabis, weeks after a judge struck down the state’s licensing process for growing the drug.

A spokesman for the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) said Wednesday the Medical Marijuana Commission’s review of dispensary applications was halted in response to a judge’s ruling that prevents Arkansas from licensing businesses to grow medical marijuana.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen last month ruled that the state’s licensing process for the cultivation facilities violated a 2016 voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for patients with certain medical conditions.

“We are under an injunction that voids the method of cultivation scoring. Therefore, dispensary application review is on hold as we review the situation,” DFA spokesman Scott Hardin said in a statement.

The commission had begun reviewing some of the 227 applications it had received for dispensaries to sell marijuana to qualified patients, and the department had previously said it was evaluating its next steps on the application process.

Hardin did not say how many applications had been reviewed. The commission can award up to 32 dispensary licenses.

Arkansas’ attorney general has appealed Griffen’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.

– Associated Press