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Arkansas's medical marijuana legal battle continues

The Medical Marijuana Commission was supposed to be scoring dispensary applications right now, but that's at a halt.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The medical marijuana legal hurdle has cultivation applicants joining in on the battle from both sides.

The process was halted after a circuit judge ruled the Medical Marijuana Commission didn't follow its own rules when scoring applications to grow marijuana.

On March 21, Judge Wendell Griffen ruled the cultivation scoring process wasn't done fairly, tossing out the states approval of five licenses.

At least nine companies who were denied a license filed court documents supporting Judge Griffen’s ruling.

Four of the five companies who originally earned a license are stepping in. They already paid their fees. That’s why Natural State Wellness Enterprises is claiming Judge Griffen’s order is moot since they already earned the license.

BOLD Team LLC, a license recipient, released a statement:

“BOLD Team is a group of small town self-made Arkansans. We have now joined the suit pending in Pulaski County, and believe that when the dust settles BOLD will retain its current license. BOLD Team has no allegations of any kind whatsoever against its application, its team, or its participation in the process. BOLD followed the rules and the process and was awarded a license based solely on merit and the quality of its application. BOLD’s desire is to move forward and begin production in Cotton Plant, a great small town looking for an economic boost.

BOLD looks forward to the legal process finalizing so BOLD may begin to provide a product that the people overwhelming voted in favor of in Arkansas Constitutional Amendment 98.”

The Attorney General’s office disagrees with the ruling and appealed the decision.

Attorney Alex Gray explained both sides will soon take part in a briefing process that will last 75 to 90 days. At that point, the case joins a stack of cases before the state Supreme Court. It’s estimated the Supreme Court will issue an opinion six to nine months from now.

The Medical Marijuana Commission was supposed to be scoring dispensary applications right now, but that’s also at a halt.

“There’s a legal team reviewing that to see what the appropriate next steps would be," said Scott Hardin with the Department of Finance and Administration.

David Couch, who wrote the Medical Marijuana Amendment, also filed an appeal Thursday claiming his group’s application to grow wasn't scored fairly.

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