Arkansas Times: Lawsuit challenges additional marijuana cultivation permits

Read the full story at Arkansas Times.

The five existing medical marijuana cultivators in Arkansas have sued to stop the award of permits to three more cultivators.

The lawsuit claims the three new permits awarded last month violated rules that said additional permits should be issued only on a determination that existing cultivation permits aren’t sufficient to supply dispensaries. It also says that, after waiting more than 24 months to award new permits, rules required a new application process rather than choosing from original applicants.

The Medical Marijuana Commission was allowed to award up to eight cultivation permits. It awarded five initially. Then it added three more, in part under pressure from Carpenter Farms, which had sued to challenge how initial applicants were scored. The commission approved a permit under a settlement of that lawsuit. But two weeks later, the Commission also approved two more permits. The plaintiffs contend proper notice wasn’t given of this business.

The suit in circuit court is by Osage Creek Cultivation, Delta Medical Cannabis, Bold Team, Natural State Medicinals Cultivation and Natural State Wellness Enterprises.

Defendants are the state Finance and Administration Department, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, the Medical Marijuana Commission, and the three new cultivation permit holders — Carpenter Farms Medical Group, River Valley Relief Cultivation and New Day Cultivation.

Here are the lawsuit and exhibits.

Lawyers are Casey Castleberry, Eric Gribble and Annie Depper.

The state will claim sovereign immunity. The lawsuit claims that failure to follows rules is an illegal action (ultra vires is the legal term) that is an exception to the rule that the state may not be sued in its courts.

The lawsuit asks for an injunction against the issuance of the permits or if they have been issued that they be voided.

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