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Judge: Group Can Proceed With Purchase of Medical Marijuana Dispensary

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A Stone County Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday that the sale of a medical marijuana dispensary can move forward after the seller tried to back out of the transaction in 2020.

Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer also said in her order that businessmen Ryan Hansen of Benton County and Jonathan Reeves of Washington County can ask for a hearing for damages in connection with the profits they would have made if the owner of Fiddler’s Green Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Mountain View had sold the company.

The sale will be pending approval of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, Meyer’s order said.

Fiddler’s Green’s owner Lisa Murphy of Stone County agreed to sell the dispensary for $3.8 million, according to court documents. Gregory Kent Thomas of Stone County also is an owner of Fiddler’s Green and was named as a defendant.

Hansen and Reeves “are Marine Corps veterans who after their service to our country started Liberty Defense Group to provide security for the cannabis industry,” their attorney, Baxter Drennon of the Little Rock office of Hall Booth Smith, said in an email to Arkansas Business.

To expand their business, Hansen and Reeves signed a contract with Murphy to buy Fiddler’s Green, according to a document filed in the case.

“Ms. Murphy refused to perform under the contract and has been profiting off of Fiddler’s Green since then,” Drennon wrote.

The plaintiffs said in court filings that Murphy “had come to believe that the parties’ agreed purchase price was too low.” Hansen and Reeves filed their lawsuit in 2020, accusing Murphy, Thomas and Fiddler’s Green of breach of contract.

The defendants denied the allegations in their court filings. The “proposed contract is void for failure to comply with the Rules Governing the Oversight of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facilities, Processors and Dispensaries,” the defendants’ filing said. “The Defendants affirmatively state that Plaintiffs breached the contract by failing to deposit the payment in escrow before the closing date.”

Drennon said Thursday that Hansen and Reeves will seek damages for the profits Murphy “has wrongfully retained since August of 2020.”

Both the plaintiffs and defendants asked for a ruling on motions for summary judgment, but the defendants’ ruling was denied.

The defendants’ attorney, Charles Darwin “Skip” Davidson of Little Rock, told Arkansas Business Thursday that the defendants intend to file a motion for reconsideration of the order and appeal.

“We believe that our motion for summary judgment should have been granted,” he said.

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