LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – The first Medical Marijuana Commission meeting since applications were due in September drew a large crowd of people waiting for answers on when medical marijuana licenses will be issued.
After the meeting completed Monday, it was determined there is no set date on when licenses will be granted. Spokesperson for the Department of Finance and Administration Scott Hardin said the timeline is very broad.
“The goal is to now have cultivation licenses to commissioners for review by Dec. 15,” Hardin said. “While that does not give us a specific day the licenses will be announced, we do know it is going to be after the first of .. Likely at least January, likely more into February.”
The commission also voted to announce who was granted a license and who was not all on the same day.
Hardin said the delay in granting licenses is due to a backlog on FBI background checks.
“December 1 we will be able to provide a little more update on where we are. We have to redact thousands of pages,” Hardin said.
The ABC Board also knows the number of application per each of the states 8 zones. Little Rock is in Zone 5 and has 13 cultivation applications and 41 dispensary applications. Each zone will have four dispensaries and 5 cultivation licenses.
“We know the number of applications per each of the 75 counties across the state. We have determined we have enough applications to have four dispensaries per region and 5 cultivation licenses,” Hardin said.
The commission also voted to refund applicants if they are not selected.
“Those applications that don’t meet minimum qualifications, they’ll be refunded in full. They’ll receive their full application prize back. So, that’s $7,500 for dispensaries and $15,000 for cultivation centers. Those that actually make it to full review but do not get selected will get half of that back,” Hardin said.
Those applicants that are granted licenses will not have to renew their licenses until 2019.
“Let’s say we reward in March, it would be crazy to renew just several months later so the commission voted to delay that until the early part of 2019,” Hardin said.
The Medical Marijuana Commission will meet again December 1 to get an update on where applications stand.