Griffen urges marijuana commission to return to evaluating cultivation licenses | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Griffen urges marijuana commission to return to evaluating cultivation licenses

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 1:10 PM

click to enlarge GRIFFEN
Today, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen urged the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission to once again return to evaluating applications for licenses to cultivate medical marijuana.

Griffen found the commission's scoring of cultivations applications "null and void" on March 21. Primarily citing commissioners with conflicts of interest, he issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the commission from awarding licenses to the top-five applications.

Griffen's decision came in a lawsuit filed by Naturalis Health, one of dozens of applicants that finished low in the scoring.

Today, Griffen denied motions to intervene in the lawsuit from four of the five applications that were scored the highest by the commission. Natural State Wellness Enterprises, Bold Team, Delta Medical Cannabis Company and Osage Creek Cultivation had asked Griffen to vacate his order.

He also ruled that Natural State Agronomics, an applicant that was not in the top five that sought to be added to the Naturalis suit, could not depose Mary Robin Casteel, director of the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, which oversees medical marijuana in Arkansas, and two medical marijuana commissioners.

Today, Griffen wrote, "The Court hopes that the present ruling will clear the way for the Medical Marijuana Commission and its co-defendants to proceed with the work required to properly screen, evaluate, and select medical marijuana cultivation license facility licensees."

The state has appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court, citing the sovereign immunity of the commission.

In his original ruling, the judge said that, while the amendment legalizing medical marijuana said it did not waive sovereign immunity, the argument can't be used by the state here because the lawsuit alleges illegal action by the state.

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