AR: River Valley Relief In Fort Smith Calls Foul On Medical Marijuana Panel Pick

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River Valley Relief Cultivation, the Fort Smith applicant for a medical marijuana cultivation license, has called foul on one of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission’s top five picks.

In a letter being delivered today to the commission by the Arkansas Beverage Control Administration, lawyers for River Valley Relief Cultivation allege that Delta Medical Cannabis Company provided “materially false information” in its application regarding one of its two medical marijuana experts.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission meets 5 p.m. today to finalize the five companies chosen to have licenses. River Valley Relief, which tied for sixth place with New Day Cultivation in Garland County, calls for a delay in the finalization.

The commission is approved to issue up to eight cultivation licenses for facilities to grow medical marijuana but has chosen to only issue five.

Following the abrupt change in position Friday of Natural State Wellness Enterprises to have its cultivation facility in Jackson County at Newport instead of Jefferson County, Delta Medical Cannabis Company is one of two cultivation facilities that could be in Jackson County.

Carla McCord, majority owner of New Day Cultivation in Garland County, is calling for the commission to fully expand to the allowed eight licenses. McCord says a cultivation facility would have an estimated $40.7 million economic impact on the Garland County area.

River Valley Relief would create up to 30 jobs in Fort Smith if it had a cultivation license. The Fort Smith business is also applying for a dispensary license.

The letter for River Valley Relief from attorney Erika Gee of Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP in Little Rock points out that under Section IV(12)(a)(3) of the Medical Marijuana Commission’s rules, applications which provide “misleading, incorrect, false, or fraudulent information” may be denied.

Delta Medical Cannabis Company’s application noted that one of its two medical marijuana experts “currently owns and operates a Medical Marijuana MIP [marijuana infused product] business in Colorado.”

River Valley Relief discovered through a search of public records that Jeff Botkin, the person Delta said would be an “operations specialist,” had not held a current medical marijuana license in Colorado since 2016.

A search Tuesday of the Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement records indicates Botkin’s license for QCI Labs LLC in Commerce City, Colo. was approved Monday. The Colorado Department of Revenue states the licenses are good for one year. The expiration date for the QCI Labs license is March 12, 2019.

Storm Nolan of River Valley Relief states Botkin’s license was not current at the time of application. River Valley Relief, he adds, included in its application American Cannabis Company of Denver as its team of consultants. Nolan also offered a March 2 screen grab showing a “support” license for Botkin had a status of “voluntary surrender” and Botkin’s “key” license was “expired” at the time.

“As Delta has only two members of its team with any medical marijuana experience at all, this representation materially bolstered its experience and qualifications,” the letter to the commission states. “The apparently false representation in Delta’s application illustrates a deeper problem that potentially affects every applicant who was preliminarily selected to receive a license.”

Botkin had not held a medical marijuana license in Colorado since 2016, the letter to the commission adds.

Gee states in the letter that they are investigating “other inaccuracies or misstatements in the applications” and calls on the commission to expand its efforts to verify tax compliance by the top applicants and insure that sufficient proof of at least 60 percent of the equity ownership interests in the entity are held by Arkansas residents and no owner, board member or officer owes delinquent taxes to the state of Arkansas.

“While applicants were required to submit information and make representations regarding their qualifications, none of these representations have been verified for accuracy,” Gee writes.