Ruling expected this week in cultivation facility lawsuit November 2, 2022 By Griffin Coop A ruling is expected this week on a circuit court case in which the plaintiffs ask the court to strip a Fort Smith cultivation facility of a license it says was wrongly awarded. The defendant, 2600 Holdings, brought the case against the state Department of Finance and Administration and two other state agencies for awarding Storm Nolan a cultivation license in 2020. The lawsuit claims the license isn’t legal because Nolan’s business entity was dissolved and his proposed facility was less than 3,000 feet from a school. The defendants have asked the court to revoke Nolan’s license and send the matter back to the state Medical Marijuana commission. The case, in the court of Judge Herb Wright, includes allegations of bribery of members of the state Medical Marijuana Commission, discussion of an FBI investigation and intense depositions from state officials. Among the people deposed in the case were Alcoholic Beverage Control Division Director Doralee Chandler, former Medical Marijuana Commission Chair Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, and current commission chair James Miller. During a deposition, Henry-Tillman confirmed that she had been questioned by the FBI for about two hours at some point between 2016 and 2020 and the interview included questions about Dr. Carlos Roman, a former member of the commission. Roman told Arkansas Business he went to the FBI with allegations of bribery but it did not result in an indictment. “There was an attempted bribery,” Roman said in an interview, discussing allegations widely reported in 2018 involving Natural State Agronomics, which didn’t receive a license. “I did contact the FBI, and they investigated them. Unfortunately, there was not an indictment against them.” Abtin Mehdizadegan, the attorney for the defendants, also asked Henry-Tillman why she took her house off the market shortly after being interviewed by the FBI. Henry-Tillman said it was unrelated to the FBI questioning. Miller also told Mehdizadegan that he was questioned by the FBI in 2018. During another deposition, Chandler sparred with Mehdizadegan over why Nolan’s application was considered acceptable despite the location being less than 3,000 feet from the Sebastian County Juvenile Detention Facility, which is considered a school. Chandler and Mehdizadegan continued to knock heads as Chandler explained her reasoning. Eventually, Mehdizadegan asked Chandler, “Why would you debase yourself for Storm Nolan?” Chandler’s attorney objected and Chandler said, “I’m not answering that question.” Mehdizadegan then asked “What is it about Storm Nolan that you want to protect? Why do you want to help him so much?” The defendants in the case also question why Nolan’s application was not scrapped when it included a business entity that did not exist in the state at the time. Nolan had previously dissolved the entity with the Arkansas secretary of state. Nolan filed a motion Monday to intervene in the case and Mehdizadegan filed a motion yesterday, arguing the judge should not allow Nolan to intervene.