Marijuana Rx commission told complaints dismissed, allows dispensary moves | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Marijuana Rx commission told complaints dismissed, allows dispensary moves

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 6:35 PM

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Alcohol Beverage Control Director Doralee Chandler reported to the Medical Marijuana Commission today that the agency has dismissed complaints about Natural State Medicinals cultivation facility in White Hall and River Valley Relief Cultivation of Fort Smith.

Complaints against Natural State Medicinals said owners Robert DeBin, Joseph Courtwright and Kathryne Peck did not provide sufficient evidence of Arkansas residency; Chandler said the ABC determined that the forms of residency complied with the Medical Marijuana Commission rules and that there was no evidence DeBin provided false information (the complaint alleged DeBin was a resident of Colorado). Because River Valley Relief did not win a cultivation license, the allegation against it — that it was located too close to a school or church — was dismissed without prejudice, should there be more licenses issued in the future and the company was granted one.

The commission also approved requests by three dispensaries to move their locations to sites they say would better serve patients.

The lack of a dispensary in Jonesboro has triggered daily complaints to the commission, Scott Hardin, the spokesman for the Department of Finance and Administration, told the Times. Residents of the Jonesboro area have said they did not want to have to travel to West Memphis, where three dispensaries will be located.

Though it would lower its application score 2.5 points (for locating in a rural area), NEA Full Spectrum Medicine said it would still come out on top of other applications in Zone 3 if it moved. It plans to move 27 miles south of Rector (Clay County) to a location closer to Jonesboro on Interstate Highway 49.

Fiddler's Green wants to move to Hwy. 49 about 8 miles east from its proposed site on Bayou Drive, in Mountain View; it will stay in the zone (2). Grassroots OPCO, which was not able to buy the building it wanted, got approval to move from Ward in Lonoke County to 7303 Kanis Road in Pulaski County (both in Zone 5).

Brian Bowen, the commission's lawyer, said he anticipates more requests from dispensaries to shift locations; he's already talked to one. To speed decisions on those requests along, the commission will meet two weeks off, at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5.

The board also approved, with some changes, proposed rules for transporter licensing; the final draft will go to a public hearing.

There will be no limit on licenses. There will be a performance bond of $100,000, a license fee of $5,000 and a renewal fee of $5,000. Chairwoman Ronda Tillman-Henry was concerned the fee amounts were arbitrary and wanted more research on fees charged in other states. Commissioners also debated whether there was a difference between a distributor and a transporter and decided the rules should not distinguish them. Input at the public hearing could change the rules.

The ABC will be in charge of vehicle regulation.

Tillman-Henry said she'd been asked if the board would act to increase the number of cultivation, now limited to five, and dispensaries, now limited to 32. No one thought that was a good idea. Bowen said he'd been informed by the state Health Department that the number of medical marijuana cards issued was only 7,126. "Let's hold tight on the number" of facilities, Commissioner Travis Story, communicating by phone, said.

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