An Arkansas circuit court judge has thrown out more than two dozen state laws that were approved by the legislature for the state’s relatively nascent medical marijuana industry, which launched in 2019.
Though the ruling invalidates a host of major rules – such as THC caps for products, bans on combustible products such as pre-rolls, and advertising bans – it still has to work its way through the state Supreme Court, the Arkansas Times reported.
It’s still unclear what the state’s high court may do, and so Bill Paschall, the director of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, said he’s advising businesses to carry on as usual and not revise their operating procedures just yet.
If the ruling holds, it could mean that Arkansas MMJ companies would be allowed to increase potency levels in edibles and infused beverages, sell pre-rolled joints and other cannabis products designed to be smoked, and advertise in far more venues than are currently optional. Rules requiring childproof packaging for cannabis products were also nullified.
The ruling, by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Morgan Welch, found that the legislature overstepped its authority under state legal precedent when it passed 27 amendments to the voter-approved 2016 ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Rather, lawmakers were required to send the regulations to the voters for sign-off, Welch ruled, because the 2016 ballot measure amended the state constitution.
The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed last year by two medical cannabis companies, Capital City Medicinal and multistate operator Good Day Farm Arkansas.
The state attorney general’s office is planning an appeal to the state Supreme Court.