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Arkansas will revoke Fort Smith medical marijuana grower’s license to comply with court order

By: - November 28, 2022 4:59 pm
Various types of cannabis displayed at at a Las Vegas dispensary in 2017, just before recreational marijuana sales began there. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Various types of cannabis displayed at at a Las Vegas dispensary in 2017. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Arkansas medical marijuana regulators will revoke a Fort Smith growing company’s cultivation license, the state’s chief marijuana enforcement officer decided Monday.

After a nearly hour-long hearing, Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Doralee Chandler decided the agency should revoke River Valley Relief’s medical cannabis cultivation license to comply with a Pulaski County circuit judge’s decision.

Earlier this month, 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.

River Valley Relief has appealed Wright’s ruling to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The Fort Smith group may also appeal Chandler’s decision to the full Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. The board’s next meeting is Dec. 21, and Chandler’s decision would be put on hold until the board makes its final call.

River Valley began growing last year and has since begun to sell its products.

The fight over the growing license is the latest development in a litigious process that has resulted in a complicated web of lawsuits, complaints and investigations.

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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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