Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen,
acting on a lawsuit filed by Naturalis Health LLC,
an unsuccessful applicant for a medical marijuana cultivation permit, has issued a temporary restraining order against state agencies and officials that had been prepared to award permits at a Medical Marijuana Commission
The judge said Naturalis, which has alleged violations of administrative procedures and arbitrary and capricious decisions in grading the applicants, had asserted facts "showing a substantial likelihood of success on the merits regarding violations of the Administrative Procedures Act, due process and
equal protection and that Naturalis Health LLC will suffer irreparable harm absent a temporary restraining order."
The order applies to the state Department of Finance and Administration, the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, the Medical Marijuana Commission and their employees.
The judge set a hearing
for a preliminary injunction at 10 a.m. Friday.
It's not immediately clear how the order affects the Medical Marijuana Commission meeting at 5 p.m. today. The agenda had included a vote on confirmation of permit awards to the top five scorers, now unlikely unless commissioners wish to be held in contempt.
UPDATE: The meeting was postponed:
Due to the temporary restraining order entered today by Judge Griffen, the meeting of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission scheduled for 5 p.m. today has been postponed. A new meeting date will be confirmed by the Commission pending further guidance from the court.
The meeting also included a scheduled discussion of complaints from three applicants about the scoring and a confirmation of tax clearance on the top applicants.
Uniformity of scoring, questions about tax liabilities on the part of applicants and conflicts of interest were among the points raised in the Naturalis suit.