LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court says it’ll hear oral arguments over a judge’s decision to prevent the state from licensing companies to grow medical marijuana.
Justices on Monday agreed to hear arguments June 7 in the state’s appeal of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s decision striking down the licensing process for medical marijuana cultivation facilities. Griffen ruled the process violated the voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for certain medical conditions.
Griffen ruled in favor of an unsuccessful applicant for a cultivation license that had challenged the commission’s decision to issue permits to five businesses, one of which is in Jefferson County.
Arkansas regulators have also stopped reviewing applications for businesses that want to sell medical marijuana because of the ruling.
Arkansas voters approved the sale of medical marijuana in 2016, and many around the state had thought the industry would be a boon to the economy.
In its request for an expedited appeal, the state of Arkansas argued that this case was a matter of significant public interest, noting that more than 5,000 medical-marijuana registry ID cards have already been issued by the state Health Department.
“Citizens of the state of Arkansas voted to legalize medical marijuana for fellow citizens suffering from chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening health challenges,” state attorneys wrote in their motion. “A long appellate process during which implementation of Amendment 98 is delayed is contrary to the people’s intent in adopting Amendment 98 and thus contrary to the public interest.”