State’s marijuana commission delays decision on Craighead County dispensary’s request to relocate to Jonesboro

State panel again delays request to relocate to Jonesboro

An attendant holds a mason jar of marijuana at the Far West Holistic Center dispensary in Detroit in this Nov. 7, 2018 file photo. (AP/Carlos Osorio)
An attendant holds a mason jar of marijuana at the Far West Holistic Center dispensary in Detroit in this Nov. 7, 2018 file photo. (AP/Carlos Osorio)

The Medical Marijuana Commission balked again Thursday on deciding whether a rural Craighead County dispensary can move to Jonesboro.

NEA Full Spectrum, a medical marijuana dispensary located in Brookland, is seeking permission to move 9.9 miles to Jonesboro, but a competing dispensary is trying to block the move.

Crop Co., a Jonesboro dispensary, argues Full Spectrum's proposed site runs afoul of state regulations as it would be within 1,500 feet of a facility that serves patients with developmental issues, and that the dispensary was given a license to serve patients in rural areas.

Lance Huey, chief operating officer of NEA Full Spectrum, said the dispensary could better serve its patients at a centrally located place in Jonesboro, near a highway interchange.

"All things funnel to Jonesboro, so a move nine miles down the road is not eliminating everybody or abandoning anyone," Huey said.

Abtin Mehdizadegan, an attorney representing NEA Full Spectrum, said the legalization of recreational marijuana in Missouri has hurt the dispensary's business. Mehdizadegan told the commission Crop Co. was acting like a monopoly trying to block a competitor.

While the commission was scheduled to make a decision on the transfer of location permit, it voted to table the measure until its next meeting June 1. This is the second time the commission has postponed making a decision after voting to table the matter at a meeting in April.

The commission had previously issued a permit for NEA Full Spectrum to change its location to Paragould, but the dispensary never made the move. The dispensary was previously licensed for a location in Rector.

"NEA Full Spectrum is moving farther and farther away from the rural patients it was originally licensed to provide medical marijuana to," said Annie Depper, an attorney representing Crop Co.

The facility in question, Families Inc., is a clinic for people with mental health issues and not a treatment facility for those with developmental disabilities.

Depper said while the facility does not treat patients for developmental disabilities, it has clients with developmental disabilities.

The commission also approved renewal applications for every dispensary, cultivator and processor in the state, except for one. For River Valley Relief, a Fort Smith cultivator, the commission decided instead to push a decision to renew its permit to the June 1 meeting.

In November, a Pulaski County judge canceled the cultivator's license, which has been appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court.