MA To Issue 1st Marijuana License; San Diego Says No Urban Grows; AR Resolves Legal Matters

Massachusetts regulators set to award state’s 1st commercial pot license

BOSTON (AP) — State cannabis regulators are likely to award the first business license under the state’s recreational marijuana law, but it won’t mean the opening of any pot shops.

The Cannabis Control Commission had scheduled a vote for later Thursday, June 21, 2018, on awarding a Tier 3 cultivation license to Sira Naturals.

The company operates medical cannabis dispensaries in Cambridge, Somerville and Needham, and is asking regulators for permission to grow marijuana for the recreational market at its existing cultivation facility in Milford.

Sira Naturals has not applied at this point for a license to sell marijuana commercially.

The commission has yet to act on any applications for retail licenses, putting in serious doubt the July 1, 2018, target date for opening pot shops in Massachusetts.

San Diego bars marijuana in urban gardens

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego leaders are all in favor of urban gardening. Except when the crop is pot.

The City Council voted Tuesday, June 19, 2018, to ban the growing of marijuana in new urban gardens that are expected to spring up in the wake of a property tax incentive passed in January 2018, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The incentive reduces the tax on some 2,000 blighted properties if they’re converted into individual plots where local residents can grow fruits and vegetables. The idea was to boost access to healthful food in low-income areas, but the measure didn’t ban the growing of marijuana. The June 19 measure added that prohibition.

The city does allow cannabis farms indoors, but they must meet a host of regulations. None has opened yet.

Arkansas Supreme Court clears the way for medical marijuana program’s launch

By Andrew DeMillo

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court cleared the way for the state to launch its medical cannabis program Thursday, June 20, 2018, reversing and dismissing a judge’s ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first license for businesses to grow marijuana.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in March 2018 that the state’s process for awarding medical cannabis cultivation licenses was unconstitutional. He said the process violated the 2016 voter-approved constitutional amendment that legalized marijuana for patients with certain conditions in Arkansas.

Griffen’s order prevented the state’s Medical Marijuana Commission from awarding cultivation licenses to five businesses. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday, June 20, 2018, that Griffen did not have jurisdiction to halt the licenses.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by an unsuccessful applicant that argued the process for awarding the licenses was flawed. The company, Naturalis Health, cited two potential conflicts of interest by members of the commission.

The company also claimed officials did not verify applicants’ assertions that their facilities would be the required distance from churches, schools and day-care centers. Naturalis ranked 38th out of the 95 applications submitted, officials have said.

However, attorneys for the state and the companies set to receive the licenses argued that Griffen’s court didn’t have jurisdiction to hear Naturalis’ complaint.

Griffen’s ruling effectively halted the launch of Arkansas’ medical cannabis program. State officials in April 2018 announced that the commission would stop reviewing applications for dispensaries to sell medical marijuana in response to Griffen’s ruling. Arkansas has approved more than 5,300 applications for patients to use medical marijuana and will issue registry cards about a month before the drug is expected to be legally available.

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