A lawsuit accusing state regulators of improperly denying a Carroll County medical-marijuana dispensary applicant the opportunity to compete for a license will continue in Pulaski County, a circuit judge ruled Tuesday.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox denied the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought on behalf of Eureka Green.
The business sued the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission and the state Department of Finance and Administration's Alcoholic Beverage Control Division in July 2020, claiming that it was illegally forced out of licensing competition for a dispensary in the Zone 1 region, despite having a top-scoring dispensary application, because the commission failed to follow its own rules by treating some companies differently than others.
The original judge, Mackie Pierce, recused, and Fox sent the case to Carroll County a week after it was filed.
Carroll County Circuit Judge Scott Jackson ordered that the case be transferred back to Pulaski County in July 2021, following an April transfer request from the state attorneys that the court initially denied.
At Tuesday's hearing, state attorney Maryna Jackson said it is the position of the attorney general's office that the case should be heard in Pulaski County because it involves statutory interpretation.
Fox said judges in Carroll County have the same authority as judges in Pulaski County to interpret state law, but said the case will continue in Pulaski County. A trial will take place at a later date.
Eureka Green, also known as Carroll County Holdings Inc., is asking that the court order the state to grant the business a dispensary license at its next opportunity and repair its licensing procedures so that they conform to state law.
Information for this article was contributed by John Lynch of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.