Arkansas justices to expedite medical marijuana case that halted MMJ program

The Arkansas Supreme Court has agreed to speed up its review of a ruling that has halted the issuance of the state’s first medical marijuana growing licenses.

The high court set an expedited briefing schedule in an order this week, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The final pleading is set to be submitted May 30.

Arkansas appealed Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s order, which has also stopped the Medical Marijuana Commission’s review of more than 220 medical marijuana dispensary applications.

Griffen had ruled in favor of the unsuccessful permit applicant Naturalis Health, finding that the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission’s process for scoring the 98 cultivation-license applications was flawed and unconstitutional.

In its request for an expedited appeal, Arkansas argued that this case was a matter of significant public interest, noting that more than 5,000 medical-marijuana registry ID cards have already been issued by the state Health Department.

“Citizens of the state of Arkansas voted to legalize medical marijuana for fellow citizens suffering from chronic, debilitating and life-threatening health challenges,” state attorneys wrote in their motion.

“A long appellate process during which implementation of Amendment 98 is delayed is contrary to the people’s intent in adopting Amendment 98 and thus contrary to the public interest.”

The high court’s order comes before its summer break, which begins June 21. The state Supreme Court will return for its fall term Sept. 6.

– Associated Press

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31 comments on “Arkansas justices to expedite medical marijuana case that halted MMJ program
  1. Benny Smith on

    Judge Wendell Griffen is playing with peoples health and well-being, plus doing all he can to stop what the voters in the Great State of Arkansas have voted into law. He is in my opinion forcing his will on the people. His self promoting attitude of what is one mans opinion, solely his, is causing harm and anguish to the people of Arkansas. Not good!

    • Anders on

      I have to completely disagree with you. Judge Griffin is not the bad guy here, the 5 members of the MMC are. If MMJ companies have to follow the regulations/laws to a T for fear of getting their permits taken away, then the MMC members should have to follow the law as well. And they clearly did not when scoring the applications. There are clear guidelines on how they should have scored each section of the applications and there are plenty of examples of how they did not do that correctly. I agree that this process, and these delays, are harming the Arkansas people and they deserve access as soon as possible, but it is not Judge Griffins doing.

  2. Laura on

    I have a loved one that is an approved, qualifying patient for Arkansas Medical Marijuana. I understand that the process for licensing cultivation centers and dispensaries is one that will take time and needs to be handled carefully. I would like to know if those who are in charge would consider stepping up and provide help for the patients who are being approved.

    I am wondering if the state, itself, could provide a location for patients to come to purchase their monthly (or bi-weekly) amount of cannabis? I’m sure those who are waiting would be willing to drive all the way to Little Rock from anywhere in the state to legally get started on using cannabis for their medical needs. Some laws may have to be looked at, but I am sure growers in Colorado could provide the product until Arkansas is able to take over.

    I understand those wanting to get into the business might be the only ones this would hurt, but it would be a great help to the patients and a great way for the state to start receiving tax money to help with funding this program. It seems to be a good way to get this whole program running in this state.

    I hope the state will not forget that there are many people who are daily waiting to hear good news. Many people have uprooted their families and moved to Arkansas because of the promise from the state to be able to treat their condition legally. People are struggling, hurting, and waiting. What can be done so that the patients needs are really being put first?

  3. Mr. Festerbestertester on

    Why not just issue the the medical marijuana cards we have paid for and let us buy from other states that will accept out of state marijuana cards. Then when the Arkansas program can get sorted out you can enforce the part of the program requiring purchase of medical marijuana only in Arkansas. The Obama administration selectively ignored laws a number times ( to numerous to list here). If the Feds can ignore the law why can’t the states pass a temporary order to let the state purchase requirement slide so people can get some help. I moved here specifically to to take advantage of this program. I have been on opioids for ten years and desperately want to get off of them. Isn’t that one of the big selling points for this program? Reduced opioid consumption and go to something with practically no side effects. How about being fair and equitable to the patients. You have a handful of growers in a pissing contest at the expense of thousands of patients. What is fair about that? Take all the time you want to sort out who’s is bigger, just give the individuals who can benefit from this program an out to get some relief.

    • Gary on

      Amen, I have been on opiates longer than 15 My Dr.prescribed a non opiate and my insurance denied payment,but in the same day they ok’d an opiate that My Dr. Had to rewrite another perscription.Sad day’s in Arkansas.I have several qualifying conditions that I am suffering daily from.medical marijuana is the pain reliever. No pill can fix my medical issues. God bless all.

  4. Rusty Shackleford on

    The state is prioritizing the greed of a few over the supposedly compassionate care of those who continue to suffer. This is not the will of the people. This is the will of the wealthiest who can’t seem to ever get enough.

  5. Mork Hunt on

    Why are people that work for the state of Arkansas so slow to get things done if they had a brain they would be dangerous.Its this simple have dispensaries grow it they can grow plenty of product for the patients of Arkansas.The people trying to grow it are crooks anyways.If they have to have growers here let a group of people that are in the cannibis business from California grade them and get this done.Its really simple state of Arkansas don’t be so ignorant the people here voted for medical marijuana so stop being stupid and get things done today not next week.

  6. Tammy Wimberly on

    I have renal cell carsanoma “kidney cancer” I had one kidney removed. I am in constant pain. Depression and anxiety. I can not take a number of medication that would help me “with so many bad side affects” due to having just one kidney. I was approved for medical marijuana in 2016 I said thank God fiannaly some relief, I might beable to have quality of life before the good Lord takes me. That was almost 2 years ago. I have suffered long enough.
    I don’t understand.
    Am I going to have to leave this good state of Arkansas that I have loved my whole life. “Starting to hate” move to Colorado where I would be without my family, living with much relief. What kind of quality life would that be without my children and grandchildren????
    How can Arkansas appove medical marijuana to all of us that suffer. Getting our hopes up. Making us belive we have relief coming. The people have voted, the medical marijuana cards have been approved. Because someone did not do there job correctly we suffer.
    How much longer Arkansas???????
    Will I be dead by the time Arkansas finally gets this problem under control???????
    This is so unfair.
    I am 54 I have worked my whole life paid my taxes, volunteered in my community. Never taking from my state or government.
    I have loved this beautiful state of Arkansas i live in. Always stood up for Arkansas when others have put us down. This state has let me down. It does not take 2 years to get any kind of organization up and running.
    Arkansas is pushing me to go to the streets. Or to the black market. In order for me to get some relief.
    A life time of devotion to the state of Arkansas.
    This is what I get at the end of my life.
    Medical marijuana is the only thing I can take, with no harmful side effects. All the Pharmaceutical drugs have harmful side effects, they would harm my one kidney I do have. I cannot even take a aspirin.
    So what am I to do lay here and suffer because my once thought awesome state of Arkansas can’t or don’t want to get it together.
    The people have spoken.
    I wish there was something I could do to speed up this prosses. Am I going to have to write the President?????
    Is there anyone out there that knows they ansewer???

    • David Benton on

      To me, a complete layman, and non user of Marijuana, since the Vietnam era, where I did smoke it, as did most, including officers, it seems unthinkable that it is taking so long to make this available to people of Arkansas who will use it medically, and I believe it should be available recreationally too, is a ” shame “. Shame on you politicians. Shame on you all who are making it so complicated. Other States have voted it legalized, and started being able to use it pretty quickly. I was proud that Arkansas was the first southern State to approve it, now I am becoming ashamed, that it is taking so long for I to become available. It should be placed on the ” fast track ” ! People are suffering, and using prescribed, maybe ” poison ” , drugs, ( read the side affects sheet ), when they could possibly be helped with this herb, that is showing great promise for helping people with a lot of problems. Get on the ball Judges, and attorneys, and legislators ! Oh yeah, keep in mind that it is legal in D. C. , both for medicine, and for fun. Drug test the Congress and Senate and see how that turns out…. 🙂 And, make it legal at the Federal level, so it can be prescribed at The V.A. , helps with P.T.S.D., and pain related issues…:-)

        • Dave on

          There are a lot of is waiting to see if it’s going to really happen.This state is run by those trying to promote there own beliefs and totally ignore what science has already proven.My wife has severe crohn’s and suffers daily plus her meds are expensive and damage other organs. We would prefer a natural medicine,and we have nothing to loose and everything to gain if it works for her.

  7. David Benton on

    So, expedite ??????? Expedite ????? Define , ” expedite “. Define expedite if you are suffering from chronic pain, and MJ can help you. define expedite if you are sick from ” chemo ” and this plant can help you. Define expedite to me if it has taken going on two years since the people by majority wanted this health help to be available to them. Define expedite to someone who is suffering and this might help. Define it.

  8. Whydoyoucare on

    I’m a US Army veteran with severe PTSD after four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. I was among the first to obtain a medical card. I had one when I was a resident of California. I am still young, and I would really like to get to a point where I can go work, enjoy independence day, etc. I am done taking prescription drugs, as they have little benefit and great risk. This is getting ridiculous.

  9. mandy blagg on

    man laws! what is the point in having a system where people vote something needed and wanted in with potential unlimited revenue for state and them not doing it!! they might as well said thanks for voting but too bad . ! we would rather u drink n kill people legally . and prescribe countless prescribtions of deadly lethal drugs to people all day every day keep them addicted to them . why didnt anyone hav to vote for xanex to be used medically ? i would hav definately voted no! people are driving around on tranqualizers muscle relaxers anti pshycodics everyday no one ask for any of those things to be voted on for medical use. but the one all natural safe little or no side effects non addicting medicine that has so many PROVEN benefits and we cant even get it going? what is wrong with this pic? is it the drug co.? paying legislatives ? makes no sense god grew it it supposed to be here! having to get background check and finger printed for weed!! one would think they were issueing medical crack! all the red tape is ridiculous! shudve been available for sale day after voting . whats really going on ! open ur eyes!!

    • mandy blagg on

      also if it is just by precription only for medicinal use then i should beable to go to pharmacy with a script and purchase it day after voting . shoulnt even hav seperate places laws red tape it shud be at pharmacy with all the harmful addictive medicines . how did greed and misinformation sereotype get us to this point of NO COMMON SENSE!!!

  10. Linda Wilkison on

    Boy, you know, as an already approved Arkansas medical marijuana patient, an amendment has been passed by the majority of voters. Therefore, I don’t CARE OR GIVE A DAMN whose fault it is. I just expect them to get the job done. If they don’t comply there will be plenty more lawsuits coming and I say vote them ALL OUT!! It’s ridiculous. I am 70 years old. I don’t have a years and years opportunity to WAIT. So. I say It’s EVERBODY’ S fault and I will vote against ALL INCUMBENTS until this changes!!

  11. Rusty Shackleford on

    Does anyone remember prop 7 that got axed at the very last minute? We would not be having all these delays if that had passed. Why was it killed leaving prop 6 (with many more restrictions) that got voted in? My guess is more money for far fewer people. Whatever. I get it. I wish they would just pick these already wealthy folks and GET ON WITH IT!!! False hope is an terrible thing to give those who are suffering and those who are dying.

  12. Just a guy on

    Why not let anyone with a medical card grow a certain amount of plants under certain guidelines then we wouldn’t be waiting….. all about the $$$ since when have we mattered ??

  13. Nina Stewart on

    Want to STOP THE OPIOID CRISIS IN ARKANSAS?? Get the judges and legislators who are putting obstacles in the way of moving forward with the medical marijuana program back on track. We voted for this almost 2 years ago and are no closer to getting it done. In the mean time, those suffering unrelenting, chronic pain are forced to use HIGHLY ADDICTIVE OPIOIDS for relief, instead of medical marijuana which has not been responsible for any OVERDOSE DEATHS!

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