2018 Top News Story #9: Medical pot cultivation facility approved in county

Friday, December 28, 2018

By Kelby Newcomb

CCNNews@cox-internet.com

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC) awarded the first five cultivation licenses Tuesday, July 10, after the formal lifting of an injunction that had halted the issuance of licenses, and a Carroll County applicant was among the group.

Osage Creek Cultivation in Carroll County scored the fourth-highest total on a points system used by the commission to grade the applicants, with a score of 432.5.

The awarding of the cultivation license to Osage Creek Cultivation was voted the No. 9 local news story of the year by Carroll County Newspapers’ editorial staff.

Records with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office list Osage Creek Cultivation LLC with a principal address in Springdale — the same address as the company’s registered agent, attorney David Nixon. It is common practice for an attorney to handle incorporation filings and to be listed as the registered agent for a corporation.

Jay Trulove is listed as the company’s incorporator/organizer. Voter registration records list Trulove with an address in Berryville.

According to a press release from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the rules established by AMMC require cultivation licenses be issued upon the companies paying the $100,000 license fee and posting a $500,000 performance bond. With each company completing these requirements and the injunction lifted, the release says each of the five companies received formal notification Tuesday, July 10, through a letter along with a physical copy of the cultivation license.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffin had issued a preliminary injunction on March 21, barring the AMMC from issuing the five cannabis cultivation licenses.

Among the rule violations, Griffen’s order states, was a failure by the commission to verify that the primary entrance for any of the 95 cultivation facility applicants was at least 3,000 feet from any public or private school, church or daycare that existed before the date of the applications, as required by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016.

Griffen also notes some potential conflicts of interest. The order states that commissioner Travis Story of the MMC has served as both an attorney and an officer in business entities for Jay and Mary Trulove, who have ownership interests in Osage Creek Cultivation.

The Arkansas Supreme Court overturned the ruling on June 21, allowing the AMMC to proceed with awarding cultivation licenses.

The other winning bidders were Natural State Medicinals Cultivation of Jefferson County, Bold Team LLC of Woodruff County, Natural State Wellness Enterprises of Jefferson and Jackson counties and Delta Medical Cannabis Company Inc. of Jackson County.

Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment in the November 2016 general election, with 53 percent of voters casting their ballots in favor of the amendment.

There are currently no licensed dispensaries. AMMC announced Wednesday, Dec. 19, that the meeting to announce dispensary scores had been scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. The press release says this will provide newly appointed commissioners adequate time to receive briefings on all matters related to AMMC.

However, a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests resulted in the dispensary scores being released on Thursday, Dec. 20, revealing that the proposed Eureka Springs dispensary, Eureka Green, came in fifth for the Zone One area of Northwest Arkansas.

Each zone will be awarded four dispensaries, so Carroll County could have both a cultivation facility and a dispensary if Eureka Green is awarded a license in 2019.

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