As predicted, a protest has been filed over the state Medical Marijuana Commission‘s choice of five winning applicants for marijuana cultivation permits, expected to be ratified at a meeting Wednesday.
Mildred Griggs of Marianna, leader of Delta Cannabinoids, which finished in the top 10 but out of the running, sent the letter of protest to Mary Robin Casteel, director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, where marijuana permitting is reviewed. Among the points raised:
* Some applicants were incorporated as LLCs, not corporations, as the letter contends is required by statute.
* The commission failed to adopt rules to ensure fair and impartial proceedings. Sufficient steps weren’t taken to be sure commissioners didn’t know those involved in the applications they graded.
* Standards were enforced arbitrarily and capriciously. A number of people, for example, failed to include signed (and thus validated) passports. Osage Creek Cultivation, the letter said, failed to provide proof of sufficient assets. Some criminal background checks were missing. Different scores were given for essentially the same answers.
* The commission didn’t adequately consider racial diversity. Bonus points for diversity were given for the inclusion of women in ownership, though few had major roles in governance or operation. The letter notes there are no black-majority groups and only five blacks among 53 owners with a cumulative 9 percent of ownership of the five winners.
The letter concludes:
The goal of this letter is to ensure Arkansas maintains a fair and equitable medical marijuana industry. The concerning issues and questions cited above need to be answered and investigated before licenses are awarded. Please accept this letter as a good faith attempt to resolve the issues with the Commission in an effort to preserve the integrity of Arkansas’s medical marijuana program