You may remember our Jan. 10 report about Responsible Growth Arkansas, a group promoting recreational marijuana legalization that has collected $350,000 each from five of the state’s eight medical cannabis cultivators.
Well that group has now started to spend some of the $1.75 million war chest it carried into 2022, including $45,000 split between a couple of Little Rock lobbying and consulting firms: McLarty Consulting, led by Robert McLarty, and Maple & Orange LLC, led by former Arkansas House Democrat leader Eddie Armstrong III.
Armstrong is chairman of the Responsible Growth group and a founder of Cannabis Capital Corp. of Chicago, which advises the marijuana industry. He and his groups hope to put a recreational marijuana amendment before state voters this year.
Responsible Growth Arkansas revealed its $1.75 million stockpile in filings in mid-December with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, reporting that it had received separate $350,000 donations from five licensed growers for the state’s relatively new medicinal cannabis industry.
In a newer ethics report filed Jan. 14, Responsible Growth listed its first spending: $22,500 each to McLarty Consulting and Maple & Orange LLC, dated Dec. 15, as well as $1,096.50 for accounting to Frost PLLC.
The ethics filing listed the purpose of the $22,500 expenditures to McLarty and Maple & Orange as “management consulting,” but it gave no clue as to whether the fee was monthly, yearly or otherwise. Efforts to reach McLarty Consulting and Maple & Orange for comment were unsuccessful, and the voicemail box on Responsible Growth’s phone line was full and accepting no messages.
The Jan. 14 filing listed just over $1.71 million on hand for Responsible Growth Arkansas, which got its money in equal parts from the following cultivators and their affiliates:
- Bold Team LLC of Cotton Plant (Woodruff County);
- Good Day Farm Arkansas LLC of Rogers, affiliated with the Good Day Farm cultivator of Pine Bluff;
- Osage Creek Cultivation LLC of Berryville;
- DMCC LLC of Jonesboro, an affiliate of Delta Medical Cannabis Co. of Newport; and
- NSMC-OPCO LLC of White Hall, which does business as Natural State Medicinals Cultivation.
Responsible Growth Arkansas is a sponsor of next month’s Medical Marijuana & CBD Wellness Expo in Little Rock, presented by the Arkansas Times and the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association.