Licenses awarded to Ark. medical marijuana growers; but drug still unavailable to patients

BERRYVILLE, Ark. - Five groups throughout Arkansas were chosen by the state's Medical Marijuana Commission to open cultivation centers to grow the drug back in February.

One of those groups will have a center near Berryville, Carroll County.

Tracellen Kelly, who lives in Eureka Springs, said in March, "I was excited. It's going to be a good thing. I've advocated for it for years."​

But then, there was a major setback. A Pulaski County Circuit judge ruled the licensing process was unconstitutional after one of the groups who didn't make the top five filed a lawsuit.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said, "We're one of the first states, really the quickest, to develop the rules. But those rules were challenged in court ,and the process was challenged so that delayed the issuance of the licenses."

Recently the State Supreme Court reversed the decision, and now Arkansas has awarded the licenses for the five cultivation centers.

The Truloves are the family scheduled to open a growing center in Berryville.
In part of a previous statement they said, "We look forward to expediting construction of our facility to cultivate medical cannabis that will help improve the quality of life for those who will benefit from our attention and determination to provide quality medical cannabis."

But now the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has to approve 32 dispensaries, where the drug will be sold, out of more than 200 applicants.

Some people said it’s disappointing that medical marijuana was legalized in Arkansas back in 2016, and yet it’s still unavailabe for patients.

Amanda Harley, who lives in Harrison, said, "It kind of frustrates you because there's so many people that could actually use the medicine now, and we can't get it to them."

Hutchinson said, "There's always concerns that there will be another lawsuit and the courts will intervene. But right now it's on track, and I know the commission which is independent, is moving forward as quickly as they can."

Thursday the medical marijuana commissioners approved an emergency rule that would allow them to hire a consultant to help score dispensary applications.