Slow down in process of AR medical marijuana cultivation center, dispensary applications

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission holds its October meeting to get an update on the progress of the application process for cultivation centers and dispensaries. (Photo: KATV)

Last minute applications are causing a slow down in the application process for medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries in Arkansas.

Monday afternoon, Joel DiPippa with the Department of Finance and Administration told the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission more time is needed to properly go through applications for cultivation centers and dispensaries.

DF&A has 95 applications for cultivation centers and 227 applications for dispensaries.

"The majority of those, 200 of them were all submitted on the very last day to submit them,” said DiPippa. “Which creates a bottleneck and creates a little bit of an administrative hang-up in trying to get them all processed."

It also created a bottleneck for the background check process. DF&A Is still waiting on the FBI background check and fingerprint clearance to come back.

"The anticipation from what we are hearing is that the original November 1st deadline to receive that isn't sufficient, which has been pushed back to December 1st to allow the FBI to process all of the applications," said DiPippa.

There's also a deadline of December 15 for DF&A to redact personal information from the applications to give to the commission.

While they're waiting, commissioners also clarified minimum qualifications.

Applicants don't have to include their 2016 tax return.

"Because of the time these applications were due, individuals who may have filed for an extension didn't have their tax return,” said DiPippa. “And the commission determined that if they provide the seven years of tax returns, that would be sufficient, even if it's not 2016 back, if it's 2015 back."

Also, anyone applying for a dispensary will only need their residency verified through one method instead of two.

Commissioners also voted to refund 100% of the application fee if an applicant is denied because they did not meet the minimum qualifications to go on for a full review.

Those that meet the minimum qualifications and go forward for a full review but don't receive a license will have 50% of their application fee refunded.

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