March 22, 2023

Marijuana cultivation license in jeopardy for River Valley Aid after court docket ruling

The way forward for the River Valley Aid (RVR) marijuana cultivation heart in Fort Smith is unsure following a Pulaski County Circuit Courtroom ruling Thursday (Nov. 3) that mentioned state officers erred in granting River Valley Aid a license.

2600 Holdings filed a lawsuit in January 2021, asking the court docket to disqualify RVR and grant the license to 2600 or present different reduction by means of the Arkansas Administrative Procedures Act.

2600 attorneys allege that in June 2020, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Fee (MMC) illegally granted RVR proprietor Storm Nolan a license throughout a second spherical of awarding cultivation licenses. The motion was unlawful as a result of the incorporation in Nolan’s first utility was now not legitimate, and the proposed heart was too near the Sebastian County Juvenile Detention Middle, based on the grievance filed by 2600. The regulation regulating Arkansas’ medical marijuana requires facilities to be no less than 3,000 toes away from a faculty, church or daycare.

The Arkansas Division of Finance and Administration (DFA) rebutted 2600’s grievance with a 36-page submitting.

“Every thing concerning the Plaintiff’s lawsuit is mistaken – the mistaken Plaintiff, the mistaken events, the mistaken time, and the mistaken arguments. There isn’t any justiciable controversy for the Courtroom to handle. 2600 Holdings, LLC shouldn’t be the actual social gathering in curiosity as a result of it by no means utilized for and can’t maintain a medical marijuana cultivation license. Even when it have been the precise social gathering to deliver this go well with, the Plaintiff failed to call and serve the eighth license holder, a crucial social gathering in curiosity,” DFA famous within the introduction of the submitting.

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DFA additionally mentioned it had taken motion on deficiencies in Nolan’s second utility and acted inside its authority in that response.

“ABC has already acted upon the complaints made towards Nolan, referred the complaints to ABC Enforcement, reviewed the outcomes of its investigations, and issued orders. ABC exercised the discretionary authority granted by Modification 98 and its guidelines to decide on to superb Mr. Nolan fairly than terminate, revoke, or droop his medical marijuana cultivation license for failing to adjust to the appliance requirement,” DFA famous.

The DFA arguments didn’t maintain weight with Pulaski County Circuit Choose Herbert Wright. He famous in his ruling that 2600 has confirmed it ought to be given reduction, and the MMC acted outdoors its authority – extremely vires – in granting the license to RVR.

“Plaintiff has, subsequently, met its burden in displaying that the undisputed information of the case, considered in a lightweight most favorable to Defendants, show that the plaintiff is entitled to reduction. Defendants have acted unreasonably, unlawfully, and capriciously by awarding Nolan a license,” Wright famous, including later within the ruling: “An effort was clearly made by the MMC to provide Nolan thread to sew up the holes within the RVRC utility. Whether or not that was honest or unfair to any of the candidates, it was at minimal an unconstitutional and extremely vires act.”

Choose Wright additionally blocked Nolan, represented by the Fort Smith regulation agency Smith, Cohen & Horan, from taking part within the lawsuit, saying Nolan and his attorneys ought to have sought to interact sooner within the litigation.

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Nolan, who has beforehand estimated that his Fort Smith operation has round 50 staff, declined to touch upon any authorized strikes they could absorb response to Thursday’s ruling.

DFA spokesman Scott Hardin mentioned they’re reviewing authorized choices.

“We’re reviewing Choose Wright’s Order right now in coordination with our authorized counsel to find out subsequent steps. As a coverage, we don’t communicate to specifics of energetic litigation,” Hardin mentioned in a observe to Discuss Enterprise & Politics.