Arkansas Supreme Court paves way for medical cannabis program launch

The Arkansas Supreme Court cleared the way for the state to launch its medical marijuana program, reversing a lower court ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first grower licenses.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in March that the state’s process for awarding medical marijuana cultivation licenses was unconstitutional.

He said the process violated the 2016 voter-approved constitutional amendment that legalized marijuana for patients with certain conditions in Arkansas.

Griffen’s order had prevented the state’s Medical Marijuana Commission from awarding cultivation licenses to five businesses it had identified as the top-scoring firms among 95 applicants that sought the permits.

In response to the ruling, the state also halted its review of more than 220 MMJ dispensary applications.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Griffen did not have jurisdiction to halt the licenses.

The court said the Arkansas Constitution prevents one branch of government from exercising another branch’s power.

Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the Department of Finance and Administration, said the agency was reviewing the decision to determine the next steps in the licensing process.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by an unsuccessful applicant that argued the process for awarding the licenses was flawed. The company, Naturalis Health, cited two potential conflicts of interest by members of the commission.

The court’s expedited ruling did not mention a letter the attorney general’s office filed with the court detailing a commissioner’s claim that he had rejected a bribe by another unsuccessful applicant.

The letter, which was unsealed hours after justices heard the case over the halted licenses, said the bribery allegation remained unsubstantiated and was being investigated by law enforcement.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily

10 comments on “Arkansas Supreme Court paves way for medical cannabis program launch
  1. Jill on

    Thank you mjbizdaily for bringing out more on The Natural State! Along with the Natural medicine we chose to take.

    Reply
  2. Gary on

    I feel as though this company who filed the suit to stop awarded licenses to those who qualified for the license should have a lawsuit put on them for their interference in the distribution of legal medical treatment of medical marijuana to qualified patients. If a lawyer wants to start a tort I Gary S.will willing be available to do so!! I’m a qualified patient.with doctors who will concur with my medical qualifications
    Thank you and God Speed.

    Reply
  3. Jason on

    This needs to be put on the fast track. Other states move at a fast pace and we move slower than a sloth on Xanax. The voters have spoken, you so called lawmakers need to make it happen. Who cares if the rich get richer, thats the way the world works. I don’t care who makes money and most others will probably agree with me. Let’s now start issuing dispensary licenses now, not three months from now.

    Reply
  4. Teddy on

    I have cancer and have been approved by the state for medical marijuana, I don’t have time for a cry baby that didn’t get chosen for a grower license to hold up the medicine I need “NOW” not 6 months from now so lets get on with the program!

    Reply
    • Tamara Horvath on

      Teddy, I hope you are receiving wellness therapy. Thank you for posting. The Cannabis Industry needs more patients posting comments on how each person feels about continued government restrictions on medicine and medicinal herb use.

      Reply
  5. Cynthia Stolarik on

    The people voted in medical marijuana, let get it done. My son is on debilitating prescription medication that could be alleviated with the marijuana.

    Reply
  6. Lisa on

    This whole thing is a farce and offense to people who are sick in this state. The provision to allow patients to grow plants in their home should be added or the disabled and elderly should have Medicaid, a state run program, paying for medical marijuana just as it pays for pharmaceuticals. Disabled at age 36, now in my 50’s, i had a recent hospital stay and the doctor advised me to stop 3 pharmaceutical medications that had the potential to be the cause of some very disturbing occurrences in my body. My total monthly income is $750 a month, I don’t have HUD or food stamps. What good is a medical marijuana law that the poorest of the poor will not be able to afford? Some seeds and some soil would give me the ability to try to make my own. I lived in a medical marijuana state for part of 2016 and part of 2017. I KNOW the edibles can help me. I don’t know I will be able to afford dispensary prices. Legalize growing for patient’s personal use. Do the right thing, for God’s sake, not just the greedy thing.

    Reply
  7. Gary on

    Why should it take 21/2 to 3 yrs. to he mmj to market? If it were pills or of such it would be voted on today and sold tomorrow !!
    Our next vote WILL make “grow your own” legal.”
    My wife has been disabled for 18 yrs.
    I have been for 5 yrs.
    Let’s get a few things straight !’
    1) We didn’t “choose” to give up $60,000 a yr. for less than half tha we get on SSDI.
    2) We can’t go out an get a “second SSDI check” to help pay for financial crippling dr. Bills.
    3) We can’t go back to work.
    By the time all is done we don’t
    make $600.00 month together. But
    since our “pre expense ” gross is over $2000.00 (barely) we don’t qualify for any other benefits.
    Mmj to grow will be- WILL BE!!! A way to have medicine to help with pain at a cost WE can afford.
    When I say WE, I mean EVERY ONE in my situation in Good-OLE
    aRkAnSaS

    Reply
  8. James on

    We paid for our MMJ cards in advance, several years later,no card…now I’m just doing what I want, I suggest you do the same, it’s now the LAW!

    Reply

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