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Understanding the Proposed Selection Process for Arkansas Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility Licenses

Medical Marijuana Update

This is the second of two articles reviewing the proposed process for Arkansas medical marijuana dispensary and cultivator licenses. This article, the second, looks at cultivator license selection. The first article looked at dispensary license selection.

On February 24, 2017, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (the “Commission”) issued final draft rules and regulations (the “Rules”) for the licensing of medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries. The Commission will grant between 4 and 8 cultivation facility licenses throughout Arkansas. Licenses will be selected based on merit.

  • On receipt, the Commission will verify that the application meets the minimum qualifications specified in the Rules. Only verified applications will be evaluated for merit.
  • Merit criteria will be published with the initial notice of open application. The notice of open application will also include the number of points that each criterion is worth.
  • The Rules also specify criterion that the Commission “shall” and “may” consider in addition to the criterion that the Commission publishes with the notice of application. Mandatory criterion include the applicant’s ability to operate a business, plan for operating a medical marijuana cultivation facility in compliance with applicable laws, proof the applicant is ready, willing, and able to carry out the activities of a medical marijuana cultivation facility, and proof of financial stability and resources.
  • Optional criteria include affiliation of a medical professional with the proposed facility, proof the facility will positively impact the economy and diversity of the community in which it is located, and proof the facility will benefit the community in which it will be located.
  • Applications will be reviewed by a panel comprised of Commission members. The Commission will notify each applicant in writing of their score and rank among all applicants.
  • The highest ranking applicants, equal to the amount of available licenses, will have 7 days to pay the license fee and post the required performance bond. Applicants who failure to timely pay the license fee or post the bond will be disqualified, and a license will be offered to the next highest scoring unselected applicant.
  • The Commission’s order approving or denying a license is appealable to the circuit court of the county where the dispensary would be situated, or to the Pulaski County Circuit Court. Appeals will be governed by the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act (Ark. Code Ann. § 25-15-201 et seq.).

The Commission will hold a public hearing on the draft Rules and Regulations on Friday, March 31, 2017, from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

The members of the Mitchell Williams Medical Marijuana Practice Group are Harry Hamlin, Morril Harriman, Jr., Martha Hill, Melissa Bandy, Benjamin Brenner, Courtney Crouch, Meg Johnston, Alan Lewis, Bethany Marshall, Nicole Lovell, Scott Schallhorn, and Mary Catherine Way.

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