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Medical Marijuana Commission awards cultivation licenses with injunction lifted

(MGN Photo)

UPDATE (7/11):

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has confirmed to KATV that the Medical Marijuana Commission has not yet decided if they'll send denial letters to the remaining 90 cultivation license applicants.

Spokesperson Scott Hardin said at Thursday's meeting, the MMC will discuss how to proceed with the unsuccessful applicants and the commission has several options to address this. Hardin said the commission could vote to hold the remaining applications for two reasons: one of the five licenses awarded could be revoked and keeping the process open allows for the commission to award the next highest scored group an application, or they could keep it open if they decide to award the three additional licenses available.

Voting to send denial letters to the remaining applicants notifying them the process is complete is also an option the MMC could vote on at Thursday's meeting.

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ORIGINAL (7/10): The Medical Marijuana Commission has awarded cultivation licenses to the top five applicants after the Arkansas Supreme Court's decision on a medical marijuana lawsuit finalized.

In June, the Arkansas Supreme Court paved the way for the state to launch its medical marijuana program, reversing and dismissing a ruling by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen that stopped the state from issuing the cultivation licenses on the basis that it was unconstitutional. The state's highest court said the judge didn't have the jurisdiction to make this ruling and scrapped it, allowing the MMC to award the top five applicants their licenses while the unsuccessful applicants received denial letters.

However, the DFA said the Arkansas Supreme Court's ruling could not be considered final for two weeks. Now, the injunction that halted the commission from issuing the licenses has been officially lifted.

The companies that were awarded licenses include Natural State Medicinals Cultivation, Bold Team, LLC, Natural State Wellness Enterprises, Osage Creek Cultivation and Delta Medical Cannabis Company, Inc.

While it appears these five groups can start building and planting, just last month KATV reported that lawsuits are expected to be filed by cultivation applicants who receive a denial letter. Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association Attorney, Alex Gray, said they could ask for a judge to temporarily stop the top five from growing pending litigation, which could further halt the process of the state's medical marijuana program.

The commission plans to meet Thursday and their agenda includes discussing complaints and protests concerning unsuccessful cultivation applicants and the process of hiring a consulting group to grade the 227 dispensary applications.


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