Lawsuit over dispensary licensing transferred to Carroll County

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

By Scott Loftis

A lawsuit filed by a Eureka Springs company that was an applicant for a license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary has been moved to Carroll County.

Carroll County Holdings Inc., doing business as Eureka Green, filed suit June 29 in Pulaski County against the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission.

The medical marijuana commission reviewed and scored applications for dispensaries in eight zones of the state, then awarded licenses for four dispensaries in each zone. Eureka Green was the fifth highest-scoring applicant in Zone 1 but was not awarded a license.

According to the lawsuit, Eureka Green received a refund of half its $7,500 application fee. The suit says the defendants “arbitrarily refunded money to (applicants) without a basis in law for doing so,” then disqualified them from consideration for receiving a license should one of the four licensees in a particular zone fail to fulfill the requirements.

“Eureka Green was told that they were no longer a successful and unselected applicant to be held in reserve as eligible for consideration, and instead told that their application was denied as withdrawn,” the suit says, adding that “Eureka Green did not ever and has not withdrawn its application.”

On July 6, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ordered that the case be transferred to Carroll County Circuit Court.

“It is patently clear from the Verified Complaint that the citizens, residents and taxpayers of Carroll County have a substantial interest in this matter being conducted in Carroll County,” Fox’s order says.

On July 30, Carroll County Circuit Judge Scott Jackson signed an order accepting the case. The following day, the defendants filed a pair of motions — one seeking to have the case returned to Pulaski County and the other asking Jackson to dismiss the case outright. No hearing date has been scheduled.

Dr. Dan Bell of Eureka Springs, president of Carroll County Holdings Inc., declined Tuesday to discuss specific details of the lawsuit.

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