Judge grants temporary restraining order in Arkansas medical marijuana lawsuit

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

Pulaski Co. Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has granted a temporary restraining order for a group associated with a lawsuit to stop the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission from awarding cultivation licenses Wednesday.

Little Rock-based Naturalis Health filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the 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 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 commission is scheduled to ratify its decision to award cultivation licenses to five other companies at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Following the order, the Commission postponed its meeting until after the court hearing, which is scheduled for March 16, 2018, at 10 a.m.

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