March 20, 2023

River Valley Aid denied effort to hunt trial in license loss litigation, will enchantment

The way forward for 75 jobs and an $8 million marijuana cultivation heart in Fort Smith was the main target of continued authorized filings within the Pulaski County Circuit Courtroom, with attorneys for River Valley Aid (RVR) unable to hunt a day in courtroom for the corporate’s house owners.

Pulaski County Circuit Choose Herbert Wright dominated Nov. 3 in favor of 2600 Holdings, which claimed RVR was erroneously granted a cultivation license. On Monday (Nov. 21), Choose Wright denied two motions from RVR asking the courtroom for a brand new trial.

Attorneys for 2600 alleged 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 software was now not legitimate, and the proposed heart was too near the Sebastian County Juvenile Detention Middle, in accordance with the grievance filed by 2600. The legislation regulating Arkansas’ medical marijuana requires facilities to be a minimum of 3,000 toes away from a college, church or daycare.

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

“Every part concerning the Plaintiff’s lawsuit is fallacious – the fallacious Plaintiff, the fallacious events, the fallacious time, and the fallacious arguments. There isn’t a justiciable controversy for the Courtroom to handle. 2600 Holdings, LLC will not 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 had been the appropriate social gathering to deliver this swimsuit, the Plaintiff failed to call and serve the eighth license holder, a essential social gathering in curiosity,” DFA famous within the introduction of its submitting earlier than Choose Wright’s Nov. 3 order.

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Wright disagreed with DFA, and famous in his ruling that 2600 has confirmed it ought to be given aid, and the MMC acted exterior its authority – extremely vires – in granting the license to RVR.

Abtin Mehdizadega, with Little Rock-based Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, the legislation agency representing 2600 Holdings (aka Southern Roots), on Nov. 15 filed a movement to forestall the MMC and MMC Director Doralee Chandler from conducting a Nov. 28 listening to to think about the revocation of Nolan’s license. Mehdizadega argues that the courtroom has already dominated, and the MMC has no say within the matter.

“Stated one other means, Director Chandler is working underneath the idea that she and her government department board will now sit in appellate assessment of this Courtroom’s Order. … Director Chandler’s Discover of Listening to demonstrates the State has no intention of complying with the Courtroom’s Order anytime quickly, and even in any respect,” famous a part of Mehdizadega’s submitting.

Mehdizadega additionally requested in a separate submitting that the courtroom pressure state officers to expedite actions to revoke the RVR license. A part of that request included a Nov. 22 deadline for the courtroom to concern an “Emergency Movement to Implement,” however no movement but seems within the courtroom docket report.

“There isn’t a disagreement among the many events as to what should occur – revocation of RVRC’s license. Certainly, on November 7, 2022, Defendants filed a letter with the Courtroom representing that they had been taking the ‘essential’ steps to revoke RVRC’s license,” Mehdizadega famous within the submitting searching for the emergency order.

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Matthew Horan, an legal professional with Fort Smith-based Smith, Cohen & Horan, the legislation agency representing RVR and Nolan, on Nov. 17 requested in 4 filings a movement to intervene, a movement for a brand new trial, and two supporting briefs. The first focus of Horan’s filings is that RVR was not given due course of as a result of it was blocked from being a celebration within the motion that resulted in Choose Wright’s Nov. 3 ruling.

Horan wrote that it’s “crucial to permit Nolan (and River Valley) to intervene in order to have the ability to defend their rights, … after which enchantment.” He mentioned Nolan paid a $100,000 price in 2021 to acquire the license and a $100,000 price in 2022 to resume the license earlier than 2600 Holdings filed its motion in opposition to the MMC. He additionally mentioned Nolan and RVR held the license however weren’t in a position to defend themselves within the courtroom, making them an “absent social gathering.”

“The absent social gathering held a license (and a allow) prima facie. To deprive the absentees of a license with out Due Course of is a constitutional violation, condemned by the Fifth Modification, and by Article 2, Part 8 of the Arkansas Structure.”

He additionally famous that MMC guidelines require Nolan to have a listening to earlier than revocation of a license, “and the Plaintiff this week insists that even these procedural protections be taken from Movants.”

“Consequently, Nolan and River Valley stand to be disadvantaged of due course of with out discover, listening to, or alternative to be heard,” Horan wrote, including that RVR has round $6 million in processed product that might be a hardship on the trade if the motion in opposition to RVR prevents the product from attending to the market.

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Nevertheless, Choose Wright mentioned his ruling of Nov. 3 stands and Nolan “stays a non-party to this case.” Nolan informed Discuss Enterprise & Politics that he plans to enchantment the choices by Choose Wright.