The leafy ceiling of a large, commercial cannabis grow in Washington state.

Rory Savatgy

An Arkansas judge has put the state’s licensing of medical cannabis cultivators on hold as one of the unsuccessful applicants vying for a cultivation license is suing the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission over the application evaluation process, ArkansasOnline reports. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen said that the lawsuit by Naturalis Health “asserts facts showing a substantial likelihood of success on the merits regarding violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, due process and equal protection.”

The order ties the hands of the state Department of Finance and Administration, Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, and Medical Marijuana Commission from moving forward with the program pending a preliminary injunction hearing, which is set for tomorrow.

Naturalis was one of two companies that sued the agency yesterday; Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office indicated that the state would respond “in due course.” The medical cannabis board had anticipated issuing the five medical cannabis cultivation licenses yesterday, after announcing preliminary approval for the companies March 1.

State regulators have already approved 4,410 medical cannabis patient applications and are expected to approve 32 dispensaries later this year. The Medical Marijuana Commission had received about 95 cultivation applications and 227 dispensary applications.

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