This is a big night for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission. It’s the last meeting before they begin scoring the 95 cultivation facility and 227 dispensary applications which will be culled down to five cultivation facility licenses and 32 dispensary licenses based upon merit grading criteria.
The meeting will start with a discussion of the status of the FBI background checks which were a required part of the applications. We also expect to hear discussion about a timeframe for grading the applications and awarding the licenses.
All of the commissioners were present, Travis Story via phone.
Joel DiPippa is giving an update on the FBI background checks. Five individuals out of the entire list are having to go through resubmittals to complete their background check. Applicants have 30 days to clear background checks that come back with felonies. These applications will be submitted to the commissioners for grading, but they may have to be withdrawn after the grading process has started.
Joel is outlining two decisions that can be made tonight:
- Should the commission start with a cultivation facility batch of applications and then proceed to the dispensary applications?
- Should dispensary licenses be announced in batches by zone?
The applications will be ready for the commissioners to start scoring on December 15th. Each application will have an individual scoring sheet for each commissioner. DFA staff will collect scoring sheets from the commissioners and add each commissioner’s score to the total of 500 available application points. Dispensary applications will be provided to the commissioners by zone, but they cannot be announced by zone.
February 20th is the deadline for completion of cultivation facility application scoring.
Projected date of late April for completion of dispensary application scoring.
Joel DiPippa confirmed that 80 groups and individuals have requested copies of all applications once they are available to the public.
Commissioner Carlos Roman stated that a late January deadline for cultivation scoring to be complete is too aggressive, especially considering the multiple holidays during this grading period. Commissioner Roman suggested that February 26th be the target date for cultivation scoring – Chairperson Tillman agrees. Joel suggests that the commission meet approximately one week after the cultivation scoring is complete.
Joel DiPippa estimated that dispensary application scoring will take approximately three months.
Discussion came up about the timeframe for reviewing draft licensing rules for medical cannabis processors, distributors, and transporters. Commissioners Roman and Tillman did not want to start this process until after cultivation scores are finalized.
February 27th will be the next MMC meeting at 3:30 pm. At this meeting, the MMC will receive the names of the five highest scores for cultivation facility applications. After receiving these names, they will immediately announce them to the public. They will also start reviewing the draft rules for medical cannabis processors, transporters, and distributors. At this meeting, they will also agree upon a deadline for reviewing and scoring dispensary applications.
Joel DiPippa claimed that the state does not have an interest in getting involved in how cultivators obtain their initial medical cannabis seeds and clones from which to start cultivation.
In the event of a scoring tie, the commissioners will re-score the applications, and the new scores will prevail.
- Minutes from the previous MMC meeting were approved
- Applicants with delayed FBI background checks will be allowed to continue on in the licensure process
- February 20th will be the date by which the commissioners must have scoring of cultivation facility applications complete, by close of business that day (4:30 pm)
- February 27th will be the next MMC meeting, the topics for this meeting are covered above