March 28, 2023

MMC director revokes River Valley Aid medical marijuana cultivation license

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Fee (MMC) Director Doralee Changer has revoked the cultivation license of Fort Smith-based River Valley Aid (RVR). Her motion was procedural and adopted a Nov. 3 court docket ruling to revoke the license. RVR has appealed the court docket ruling.

The formal order will seemingly be issued no later than the tip of the week, based on Scott Hardin, spokesman for the Arkansas Division of Finance and Administration (DFA), the MMC oversight company.

Pulaski County Circuit Court docket Choose Herb Wright dominated on Nov. 3 for a declare by 2600 Holdings that the MMC erred in granting RVR the license in July 2020. 2600 Holdings filed a lawsuit in January 2021, asking the court docket to disqualify RVR and grant the license to 2600 or present different aid by the Arkansas Administrative Procedures Act.

2600 attorneys allege that 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 software was now not legitimate, and the proposed heart was too near the Sebastian County Juvenile Detention Heart, based on the grievance filed by 2600. The legislation regulating Arkansas’ medical marijuana requires facilities to be not less than 3,000 ft away from a faculty, church or daycare.

The DFA rebutted 2600’s grievance with a 36-page submitting. Nolan and his attorneys had been blocked by Pulaski County Circuit Court docket Choose Herb Wright from taking part within the court docket case.

In his ruling, Choose Wright stated 2600 has confirmed it ought to be given aid, and the MMC acted outdoors its authority – extremely vires – in granting the license to RVR,

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“Plaintiff has, due to this fact, met its burden in displaying that the undisputed info of the case, seen in a light-weight most favorable to Defendants, show that the plaintiff is entitled to aid. Defendants have acted unreasonably, unlawfully, and capriciously by awarding Nolan a license,” Wright famous, including later within the Nov. 3 ruling: “An effort was clearly made by the MMC to provide Nolan thread to sew up the holes within the RVRC software. Whether or not that was truthful or unfair to any of the candidates, it was at minimal an unconstitutional and extremely vires act.”

At Monday’s (Nov. 28) listening to wherein Chandler issued the revocation, Nolan and his legal professional Matthew Horan rebutted what they declare are three key inaccurate findings in Wright’s order. One was that the unique RVR software was inside 3,000 ft of a faculty, which might violate MMC guidelines for a cultivation heart. The unique location was inside 2,400 ft of the Sebastian County Juvenile Detention Heart.

“There isn’t any proof wherever that the detention heart is operated by a public college facility,” Horan famous, including that the Arkansas Division of Schooling issued a letter saying the juvenile facility was not a faculty.

Chandler pushed again just a few occasions throughout Monday’s listening to, reminding Horan and Nolan that the listening to was solely about their license and never a venue to rehear the court docket case.

Hardin stated Nolan might enchantment Chandler’s administrative choice, which might halt the license revocation and ship the matter to a listening to earlier than the complete board of the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Management. The subsequent listening to for that board is Dec. 21.

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Nolan and his attorneys have appealed the Pulaski County Circuit Court docket ruling to the Arkansas Supreme Court docket.

‘River Valley Aid Cultivation has appealed the Pulaski Circuit Court docket choice to the Arkansas Supreme Court docket. RVRC has requested that proceedings be stayed till the enchantment is heard. We await the choice of the Supreme Court docket,” Nolan stated in an announcement to Speak Enterprise & Politics.

RVR has about 75 staff, and firm house owners have invested “greater than $8 million” into the licensing and operation of the cultivation heart. It stays unclear the standing of product processed by RVR previous to the formal license revocation.