Litigation to strip a Fort Smith medical marijuana cultivation facility of its grower’s license is on the fast track to be decided by a Pulaski County Circuit judge amid accusations that state regulators, their lawyers included, have deliberately lied or engaged in other unethical practices.
Further, attorneys for the Little Rock company that claims it’s rightfully entitled to the license argue that the state, represented by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office, has technically dropped its defenses, so the judge should side with them in summary judgment.
At stake is the eighth and final grower’s license allowed under the voter-approved 2016 state constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana.
Presiding Judge Herb Wright has given Rutledge’s lawyers until midnight Monday to respond, indicating that he could resolve the litigation by the end of this week but intends to decide the case before the upcoming election, which includes a referendum on marijuana regulation.
Plaintiff’s attorney Abtin Mehdizadegan of the Little Rock firm Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus PC asked for the case to be expedited. He said Friday the litigation has been drawn out partially by the attorney general’s office offering the prospect of a settlement that never came to fruition.
But further, with voters poised to consider legalizing recreational marijuana, they need to see how regulators operate now, he said.
The judge overruled the state’s objections to the speedy pace of…