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Lawsuit claims impropriety in Arkansas medical marijuana licensing

The state Medical Marijuana Commission is being sued over how it handled the selection process for cultivation licenses (Photo: MGN)

Little Rock-based Naturalis Health has filed a lawsuit against the state Medical Marijuana Commission to appeal the company's denial of a marijuana-cultivation license and to temporarily prevent the state from issuing those licenses to other companies.

The suit, filed Tuesday afternoon in Pulaski County Circuit Court, comes one day before the commission is scheduled to ratify its decision to award cultivation licenses to five other companies.

The suit says the selection process was "plagued by unlawful and inconsistent procedures." It says a scoring system that was used to rank the top applicants for cultivation licenses was unbalanced; Naturalis Health was the 39th-ranked applicant.

The lawsuit also says members of the commission were biased or had conflicts of interest that tainted the selection process. Additionally, the company claims that some of the chosen applicants do not meet residency requirements, have tax liabilities or have not met rules that require a cultivation facility to be at least 3,000 feet from a church, school or daycare.

The five companies who received the prized cultivation licenses are: Natural State Medicinals Cultivation in Jefferson County; Bold Team LLC in Woodruff County; Natural State Wellness Enterprises in Jackson County; Osage Creek Cultivation in Carroll County and Delta Medical Cannabis Company in Jackson County.

As part of the lawsuit, Naturalis Health is seeking an independent review of the application and selection process. It's also seeking a declaratory judgement that the commission did not follow its own rules in the selection process.

Along with the state Medical Marijuana Commission, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division are listed as defendants.

The company isn't the first to raise issues with the selection process. River Valley Cultivation of Fort Smith accused Delta Medical Cannabis, the 5th-ranked applicant, of providing "misleading, incorrect, false or fraudulent information" to the commission, according to KATV content partner Talk Business & Politics.




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