Arkansas Supreme Court stops revocation of medical marijuana cultivation permit for now

The court will expedite an appeal from the Fort Smith grower, which had its license stripped after lawsuit

By: - December 2, 2022 2:04 pm

(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday granted a Fort Smith medical marijuana cultivator’s request to pause the state’s decision to revoke its growing license.

The court agreed to expedite its review of an appeal from River Valley Relief Cultivation after a Pulaski County circuit judge ruled that its license should be stripped and regulators took the first steps Monday to take River Valley Relief’s license.

The high court’s Thursday order means River Valley Relief can continue to operate until the court makes its final decision.

The company has argued that losing the license would cost it millions, result in 75 lost jobs and require large quantities of medical marijuana to be destroyed.

 

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In November, Judge Herb Wright ruled that regulators never should have issued River Valley Relief a license due to several deficiencies with the company’s application and qualifications. The chief problems Wright found were that the location River Valley offered for its facility in the application was too close to a juvenile justice facility and issues with its corporate organization.

That lawsuit was brought by a competing license applicant, Southern Roots Cultivation, which hopes to secure the last of eight lucrative cultivation licenses for itself.

Wright rebuffed several attempts by River Valley Relief to intervene in the litigation; River Valley has also appealed that decision.

 

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Hunter Field
Hunter Field

Hunter Field is a veteran Arkansas journalist whose reporting on the state has carried him from military air strips in northwest Arkansas to soybean fields in the Arkansas delta. He spent the better part of the last decade investigating and reporting on Arkansas government and politics. For three years, he covered education policy, medical marijuana and the Arkansas General Assembly as part of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Capitol Bureau. Most recently, he was the Democrat-Gazette's projects editor, leading the newspaper's investigative team. Hunter got his start in journalism covering sports for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. A Memphis native, he enjoys smoking barbecue, kayaking and fishing in his free time.

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