The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC) on Tuesday (Dec. 8) approved just one of three remaining dispensary licenses, but a legal challenge may be filed by Fort Smith-based River Valley Relief which lost its bid for a dispensary license because of a technicality.
Tuesday’s vote also means the state will have authorized 38 of the 40 dispensary licenses approved by voters in 2016.
AMMC members on Tuesday were to vote on three remaining dispensary licenses which were in Zones 4, 6 and 8. To date, there are 31 active dispensaries in Arkansas, with six dispensaries being approved but not yet open. The medical marijuana constitutional amendment approved by Arkansas voters in 2016 allows for 40 dispensaries and 8 cultivation (growing) licenses. All eight cultivation licenses have been approved, with five active growers and three in the process of opening.
The commission on Tuesday approved the Zone 4 license and in a last minute twist, awarded the license to 3J Investments which is 60% owned by Jeffery Fitch and 40% by Jeremy Ruiz. The dispensary will be located in the Johnson County town of Lamar. River Valley Relief (RVR), owned by Fort Smith businessman Storm Nolan, was the highest scoring dispensary for the Zone 4 license, but Rose Law Firm attorney Michael Goswami told the commission the RVR application was invalid because the entity had not renewed its business license with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office.
“Thus, Amendment 98 requires that the MMC only issue a medical marijuana dispensary license to an entity incorporated with the State of Arkansas. A limited liability company that has been voluntarily and formally dissolved pursuant to Arkansas law does not meet this requirement. Further, pursuant to Arkansas law, there is no mechanism for a dissolved limited liability company to revoke its dissolution and restore