The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission set the stage for the state to begin accepting applications for medical marijuana sellers and growers by finalizing the process on Tuesday.
It was the last action required by the commission before would-be business owners navigate the voter-approved Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, regulations approved by three state entities and legislative changes in order to fill out paperwork and compete for high scores from the five-member commission.
The commission had decided in earlier meetings that it will grant 32 dispensary licenses and five cultivation facility licenses. The dispensaries will be spread evenly in eight geographic zones across the state.
By June 20, the state will issue public notice that it will begin accepting applications for those businesses starting June 30. The application period will last 90 days.
On Tuesday, the commission concentrated on how much to define how it would score applications.
In a series of 3-2 votes, the commission developed more detailed scoring within two broad sections in the application. Joel DiPippa, an attorney with the Department of Finance and Administration, said lacking a scoring breakdown would “almost guarantee that there will be lawsuits that will prevent the implementation of this program.”
The commission had put off the decision at last week’s meeting. Initially, the move was solely supported by Commissioner Stephen Carroll, who said the panel owed it to applicants to tell them what was important on the application.
Half of the 100 total points that are available to potential growers and sellers were in a section devoted to operating marijuana facilities in compliance with laws and rules.