LITTLEROCK, Ark.–Five companies that were approved to grow medical marijuana have been blocked from getting their licenses. One of them, Osage Creek LLC., is in Berryville.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffin issued a temporary restraining order against the state to block the licenses — and it’s all over complaints from another company that applied, but was denied.
That company is “Naturalis Health” in Little Rock. The owner has filed a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas, citing a wide range of what he’s calling outright violations in the application process. The claim is that the following main criteria was overlooked by the state when approving the companies to grow:
1. Residency requirement was not met.
2. Multiple applicants with Arkansas tax liabilities.
3. An applicant failing to comply with the requirement that a cultivation facility not be located within 3-thousand-feet from the nearest public charter or private school, daycare, or church.
Arkansas State Representative Joseph Scott Baltz says when he received information that their may be some discrepancies in the process, he was the first to approach the state about the possible violation requirements — specifically tax liens. However, he says their were obstacles trying to get information.
“I contacted DFA..Department of Finance Administration, here in Arkansas. It appeared that all that information is protected by confidentiality through corporations, so I really didn’t get any information back from them.”
Baltz says he even wrote to Governor Asa Hutchinson, but was still unable to get information.
“Things appear to have been done improperly. It’s exactly the reason folks don’t trust the government.”
“We need to send every one of these uh..applications to an out of state firm…impartial. Judge them on their own merits. Bring them back and award them according to those scores.”
Baltz says he feels for the people who need medical marijuana and are waiting — as well as the state’s image.
“It appears that Arkansas will get a black eye over this..and I don’t want that. But we’re trying to correct it. We’re trying to be fair with the applicants and we’re trying to do what’s right.”
The hearing wrapped up Friday afternoon. It is expected to reconvene next Wednesday.