Medical marijuana has not only helped thousands of patients living in the 29 states where it is legal but it has also become big business. The “green rush” has swept the nation as marijuana’s benefits have been found to be not just medical, but also financial. In Arkansas, regulators are dealing with the first wave of challenges that come from legalizing the plant and deciding on who within the state will be the recipient of one of the much coveted licenses that will allow a business to cultivate the plant. Only 5 licenses will be distributed within the state so the stakes in this matter are high and a thorough check of the recipients is necessary.
Accusations of Fraud
Unfortunately one such recipient of a cultivation license is being accused of putting fraudulent information on their application form. The accuser is Storm Nolan, co-founder of River Valley Relief, one of the companies who missed out on getting a license and was alerted to the possible fraud. Licensees were picked based on a point system that was based on the company’s application form. River Valley Relief came 6th, just missing out on receiving a license. Nolan states that the company was happy to lose “fair and square.” However, they were informed that Delta Medical Cannabis Company, one of the 5 companies who received a license, lied on their application.
Request to Stop Process for Investigation
Nolan states that before going public with the information, they personally verified that the information they received was true. Satisfied that it was and at minimum required further investigation, Nolan’s attorney sent a letter to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, asking for them to refrain from moving forward with licenses until the 5 chosen applicants have been thoroughly investigated.
“Now we’ve got the fire in our belly, just to make sure the thing was done right. I think that’s the most important thing,” Nolan told 5News. “That’s all we’re asking for. We want to make sure the process was done well.”
The Introduction of a Lawsuit
Naturalis Health, another company who failed to receive a license, has echoed River Valley Relief’s concerns. They have filed a lawsuit against the state’s Medical Marijuana Commission, stating that the selection process was “plagued by unlawful and inconsistent procedures.”
The claim specifies that members of the commission had biases or even conflicts of interest. Naturalis health also believe that the point system was problematic and that the selected applicants don’t even meet the basic residency requirements or adhere to the rule that the facility be located at least 3,000 feet from the nearest church, school or daycare. Their lawsuit demands an independent review of both the application and the selection process as well as a declaratory judgment that states that the commission failed to follow their own rules in the selection process.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission have expressed receiving several complaints and promised to address them all at a meeting that will be held at 5PM next Wednesday day at Little Rock’s Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board office. It’s unclear exactly which concerns they will be discussing but the forum should shed some light on their position with regards to these issues.