Arkansas judge tosses medical marijuana growing licensing process

An Arkansas judge on Wednesday struck down the state’s decision to issue its first licenses to grow medical marijuana, ruling that the process for awarding the permits and the rankings of applicants were unconstitutional.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen granted a preliminary injunction preventing the state Medical Marijuana Commission from awarding cultivation licenses.

Griffen last week issued a restraining order preventing the state from awarding licenses to five companies.

In his ruling Wednesday, Griffen said the process for awarding the licenses violated a state constitutional amendment voters approved in 2016 legalizing MMJ for patients with certain conditions.

He ruled the commission’s rankings of the 95 applicants for the cultivation licenses were null and void.

Griffen sided with an unsuccessful applicant that had sued the state over claims the process for awarding the licenses was flawed.

In his ruling, Griffen said he “takes no joy” in blocking the state from issuing the licenses.

The attorney general’s office said it was reviewing Griffen’s ruling and discussing it with state officials.

There was no word on whether an appeal to the state Supreme Court was planned.

Naturalis Health, the applicant that sued over the process, has said it wants an independent evaluator to rescore the applications for the cultivation facilities.

Associated Press

2 comments on “Arkansas judge tosses medical marijuana growing licensing process
  1. Amanda Gross on

    The application committee has never even seen a marijuana plant!

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen did the absolute RIGHT THING for the RIGHT REASONS! He stood up against extremely flawed legislation. I pleaded with Attorney David Couch to hire a paid or unpaid consultant to guide the legislative efforts to become patient centered. After an initial call, Attorney Couch never contacted me again. When I asked the question about the qualifications of those approving applications, I was told they had never even seen a marijuana plant, much less a successful cultivation center, distribution service, or dispensary. I was shocked. NO ONE involved knew a thing about creating a working process that served the will of the great people of Arkansas.

    As a thought leader in the Cannabis Industry and ex-federal lobbyist, I know what the patients need as well as how to develop a working, profitable cannabis ecosystem that serves everyone.

    I was born and raised in Arkansas. I really wanted my home state to develop an incredible, patient centered process, that worked for everyone involved. Cannabis is a medicine. It cures, heals, and provides dignity at the end of life.

    Why can’t my home state get it right? Big Interests do not have to prevail. It’s okay for cultivators and dispensary owners to do well while doing good but we MUST remain focused on the patients and their needs. Thought Leaders, with cannabis experience, are critical in the development of a working process.

    I’ve thoroughly reviewed the legislation and it serves no one. It does not put the patient or patient access, first. If implemented as is, it will on perpetuate the dangerous and unregulated black market.

    Judge Wendell Griffen, it does not have to be this way. If not me, please require the state to hire a consultant to guide the legislative efforts in such a way that PTSD Vets, AIDS patients, epileptic children, women with breast cancer and thousands of others suffering, get help. That was and remains the will of the people.

    Reply
    • George Bianchini on

      ’I was told they had never even seen a marijuana plant, much less a successful cultivation center, distribution service, or dispensary. I was shocked. NO ONE involved knew a thing about creating a working process that served the will of the great people of Arkansas’’

      Don’t feel bad, I think the first state to legalize adult use (not to mention any names) did a terrible job at creating a regulatory scheme. Everyone else piled on and figured how to make it even more terrible. My great State of California, never to be outdone, has and will outdo every other State when it comes to terrible regulatory schemes. This is not on purpose, That’s just the way we do things here. Some believe that these draconian rules are needed to stop the sky from falling.

      Keep up the good work! we have come a long way, with much work to do!

      Reply

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