Inquiry Looks Into Arkansas Medical Marijuana Company Owner

WHITE HALL, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas investigation has found that a co-owner of a medical marijuana growing company gave conflicting residency information in cannabis license applications in two states.

Robert DeBin owns about a 4 percent stake of Natural State Medicinals Cultivation in White Hall, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

DeBin wrote in a growing permit notarized in 2017 that he had been an Arkansas resident for seven years, according to a violation report from the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Division. DeBin then wrote five months later in an application for an occupational license in Colorado’s marijuana program that he was a resident of that state, the report said.

DeBin didn’t immediately respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

False statements to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission on an application could lead to a fine of up to $5,000 or the company could have its license suspended or revoked, according to the agency’s rules.

The potential violations are being reviewed, and there should be a decision by next week, said Scott Hardin, an agency spokesman.

The agency began investigating the issue after receiving several complaints about the residency discrepancy from applicants who were denied licenses.

Natural State was among the five companies that received cultivation licenses to grow medical marijuana last year.

Arkansas voters in 2016 approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana, but the program’s rollout has faced legal and bureaucratic delays. The state has approved more than 6,700 cards for patients to use medical marijuana, and the state Department of Health has said it likely won’t distribute the cards until February.

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