Medical Marijuana

marijuana
npr.org

The state Medical Marijuana Commission, after a long debate and lots of questions, gave the green light Wednesday for state procurement officials to hire a third-party contractor to review and score applications for cannabis pharmacies across the state.

The decision came after rancorous debate earlier during the 90-minute meeting that led the commission to toss more than a dozen marijuana cultivator applications that did not make the final cut for pot greenhouse licenses that were awarded to five companies in late February.

When Arkansas voters took the step to legalize medical marijuana in the November 2016 election, the Natural State was hailed as an outlier for being the first state in the Southeast U.S. to take such a bold step.

Today, with Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and other surrounding states moving with medical marijuana programs or early stage plans and ballot initiatives to legalize pot, Arkansas is now an example of a “red state” facing marijuana implementation problems with some officials in charge of the process on record as being opposed to the use of marijuana in any capacity.

Guns
Jacqueline Froelich / Arkansas Public Media

Five months after the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, a voter-approved ballot initiative, officially took effect, laws regarding handguns have been greatly expanded in Arkansas. But gun owners who register as medical marijuana patients are federally prohibited from purchasing or owning a gun.

On a recent morning, a lone silver-haired man practiced shooting his semi-automatic handgun inside a Tontitown gun range. He slowly fired off a round of bullets, stoped to study his target, a paper human silhouette in the distance riddled with holes, reloaded and took aim again.

Arkansas Supreme Court Lee Rudofsky
courts.arkansas.gov

The Arkansas Supreme Court has cleared the way for the state to launch its medical marijuana program.

Justices on Thursday reversed and dismissed a judge's ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first licenses for businesses to grow the drug.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in March that the state's process for awarding medical marijuana cultivation licenses was unconstitutional.

He said the process violated constitutional amendment that voters approved in 2016 that legalized marijuana for patients with certain conditions.

Arkansas Supreme Court Lee Rudofsky
courts.arkansas.gov

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday in a challenge by the state to a circuit judge’s order that halted the issuing of medical marijuana cultivation licenses. It was also revealed that investigators are looking into allegations that a bribe was offered by one company to a member of the Medical Marijuana Commission.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in March that the process for how the commission decided which companies would get five licenses was constitutionally flawed.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed briefs with the Arkansas Supreme Court raising legal questions in the state’s expedited appeal of a Pulaski County Circuit Court decision to block the award of medical marijuana cultivation center licenses.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson talking with reporters in his office at the state Capitol.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to expedite an appeal of a judge’s order blocking the issuance of medical marijuana cultivation licenses. He also said Monday that President Donald Trump is ”winning on better trade deals for America” but cautioned against engaging in a trade war with China.

Speaking to reporters in his office Monday, Hutchinson said the state has no choice but to wait for the Supreme Court regarding medical marijuana cultivation licenses.

Arkansas officials have halted their evaluation of applications to sell medical marijuana after a judge struck down the state's licensing process for businesses that want to grow the drug.

One of five companies that had been slated to receive Arkansas' first licenses to grow medical marijuana has asked a state judge to lift his order halting the permitting process and declaring it unconstitutional.

Natural State Wellness Enterprises LLC asked Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday to vacate his order preventing Arkansas from issuing its first medical marijuana cultivation licenses. Griffen last week ruled that the licensing process violated a 2016 voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for patients with certain conditions.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen
PBS

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday declared the state Medical Marijuana Commission’s process of scoring and awarding Arkansas’ first highly-prized licenses to five pot cultivators as “null and void” under the constitutional amendment approved by voters in the November 2016 election.

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