This is the first of two articles reviewing the proposed process for Arkansas medical marijuana dispensary and cultivator licenses.
This article looks at dispensary license selection. Part 2 will look at cultivator license selection.
On February 24, 2017, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (the “Commission”) issued final draft rules and regulations (the “Rules”) for the licensing of medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries. The Rules detail the Commission’s selection process for the limited number of dispensary licenses available. In general, dispensary licenses will be selected using a combined lottery and hearing process.
Applications will be accepted for 90 days once the application period for a particular geographic zone opens. On receipt, applications will be processed to verify completeness and compliance with the application requirements. Verified applications will get a hearing before the Commission. The hearing will be set between 150 and 180 days from the opening of the application period. The Commission chairperson will conduct a lottery at least 15 days before the hearing. At the lottery, each applicant will draw a “position number.” The position number establishes the order in which applications will be heard. Position numbers are non-transferable. At the hearing, the Commission will hear applications for the specified geographic area in the order determined by the lottery. Applications will be heard, “until the designated number of licenses have been issued for the area.” Following each hearing, the Commission will issue an order approving or denying the license. The order will review the evidence offered and include findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting the decision. The Commission’s order approving or denying a license is appealable to the circuit court of the county where the dispensary would be situated, or to the Pulaski County Circuit Court. Appeals will be governed by the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act (Ark. Code