A marijuana grower inspects pot plants at a facility in Silverthorne. Colorado Proposition BB asks voters for permission for the state to retain and spend $66.1 million of tax revenue that already was collected from retail marijuana sales. (Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file)

Arkansas marijuana regulators face lawsuits over biz license rejections

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Applicants seeking to open medical marijuana businesses in Arkansas are suing the commission overseeing the proposals.

The lawsuits were filed last week and placed under seal in Pulaski County, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. They allege the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission wrongly assessed hundreds of applications last month when it rejected bids for failing to meet minimum requirements.

Attorney Alex Gray prepared the complaints for the applicants. He said his firm became involved after the prospective entrepreneurs received rejection letters from the state.

Gray declined to give further information on the lawsuits, saying he wanted to keep his clients anonymous.

The lawsuits allege the applicants submitted their proposals for a licensed cultivation center and dispensary several days before the September deadline to allow them to identify and correct any errors.

It says the commission found an error with one of the applications, but that the applicant resubmitted their proposal after collecting missing materials, including proof-of-residency documents and secondary forms of ID for some of the people associated with the bid.

The applicants said they were told their bids were complete, but were then told after the deadline that they were still missing materials.

The lawsuits seek a temporary restraining order that would force the commission to include the plaintiffs’ applications when commissioners begin their final scoring review. They also seek ultimate injunction to keep those applications in the running.

Commission spokesman Scott Hardin said such an order would force the commission to “shut down” its work. The commission has said it will fully refund the application fees from the bids that are disqualified.

Arkansas residents voted to legalize medical marijuana in November, clearing the way for people with certain medical conditions to use the drug.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette