Attorneys Seek to Block ABC Hearing on Cultivation License


Attorneys Seek to Block ABC Hearing on Cultivation License
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division has set a hearing for Nov. 28 for the “purpose of addressing the revocation” of the cultivation license awarded to the owner of River Valley Relief Cultivation of Fort Smith. (Shutterstock.com)

Attorneys for a Little Rock company expected to receive a medical marijuana cultivation license said Tuesday that Arkansas medical marijuana regulators aren’t complying with a court order to strip the license of River Valley Relief Cultivation of Fort Smith.

Instead, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division has set a hearing for Nov. 28 for the “purpose of addressing the revocation” of the cultivation license awarded to RVRC owner Storm Nolan, according to a filing from 2600 Holdings of Little Rock, doing business as Southern Roots Cultivation. Southern Roots had sued the ABC and the state Medical Marijuana Commission, saying it should have rightfully won the license.

Earlier this month, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herbert Wright Jr. ruled that the MMC, the ABC and the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration acted “unreasonably, unlawfully, and capriciously” by awarding a cultivation license to Nolan’s River Valley Relief Cultivation of Fort Smith in 2020. 

Southern Roots said in the filing Tuesday that ABC Director Doralee Chandler’s Notice of Hearing “demonstrates the State has no intention of complying with the Court’s Order anytime soon, or even at all.”

The filing, by attorneys Abtin Mehdizadegan, Brett Taylor and Carolyn Witherspoon of Cross Gunter Witherspoon & Galchus of Little Rock, said, “Instead, Defendants are taking the only unnecessary step they could concoct in furthering their effort to provide more special accommodations to Mr. Nolan — whether to buy him time for an appeal or to thumb their noses at the Court."

Southern Roots said that if River Valley Relief Cultivation’s license isn’t pulled by Friday, the judge should require Chandler to appear in court and explain why she shouldn’t be held in contempt of court. 

“Director Chandler is attempting — once again — to rinse and repeat RVRC’s unconstitutional application through another administrative cycle,” Southern Roots said in the filing. “Mr. Nolan and RVRC (which does not exist) have no administrative rights to a hearing with the ABC Director or her Board because the denial of a cultivation license — which should have happened in the first place, and which is now required by the Court’s November 3 Order — is decidedly not an adjudication.”

Southern Roots said the hearing set for Nov. 28 is not the same thing as taking the necessary steps to revoke the cultivation license. It wants the judge to order the defendants to comply with the court’s Nov. 3 order without further delay. 

Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the defendants, said in an email statement to Arkansas Business Wednesday that the ABC is taking all necessary steps to comply with the court’s order.

"Arkansas law sets out specific steps for revoking a license," he wrote. "ABC will continue to comply with the Order by following this process."


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