The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission revoked a medical cannabis cultivation license last week following a Nov. 3 court ruling, but the state’s Supreme Court weighed in Dec. 1, blocking regulators from acting on the initial court orders.
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission Director Doralee Chandler revoked the license, which was issued to Fort Smith-based River Valley Relief in July 2020, in a procedural action Nov. 28. The move came after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright ruled Nov. 3 to uphold a claim by 2600 Holdings that regulators granted the license in error.
2600 Holdings filed the lawsuit in January 2021, asking the court to disqualify River Valley Relief based on claims that the license was issued to the company’s owner, Storm Nolan, in error during the state’s second round of cultivation licensing.
The plaintiff alleged that the incorporation in Nolan’s first application was no longer valid and that the proposed cultivation site was too close to Sebastian County Juvenile Detention Center, violating a provision in Arkansas’ medical cannabis law that requires the operations to be at least 3,000 feet away from a school, church or daycare.
While Wright blocked Nolan from participating in the case, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, which houses the Medical Marijuana Commission, filed a 36-page rebuttal. At the Nov. 28 hearing where Chandler revoked River Valley Relief’s license, Nolan and his attorney, Matthew Horan, claimed that there is no evidence to suggest that the juvenile detention facility is operated by a public school.
Wright said in his ruling that 2600 Holdings proved it should be provided relief and that regulators acted outside their authority when they issued the medical cannabis cultivation license to River Valley Relief, which immediately appealed the decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday blocks the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission from revoking the license, which River Valley Relief will retain for now, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The Supreme Court has also expedited Nolan’s appeal, the news outlet reported.
The appeal centers on Nolan’s argument that his constitutional right to due process has been violated because losing the cultivation license would cost him millions of dollars invested in the operation and terminate the company’s 75 employees, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The company would also have to destroy nearly $7 million in inventory should its license be revoked, the news outlet reported, which would eliminate roughly 12.5% of the medical cannabis supply in the state.