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story.lead_photo.caption Green Springs Medical, one of two medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Garland County. - Photo by Grace Brown of The Sentinel-Record

HOT SPRINGS -- Numerous violations were found at Garland County's two medical-marijuana dispensaries during July 17 inspections, the state said Thursday.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration's Alcoholic Beverage Control Division cited Green Springs Medical LLC, 309 Seneca St., and Doctor's Orders RX Inc., 4897 Malvern Ave., for violating rules promulgated by the state Medical Marijuana Commission.

The dispensaries were the first of 32 licensed statewide to legally sell marijuana in Arkansas. Their combined sales since opening in May have accounted for a large percentage of sales in the state.

Settlement offers the state issued earlier this week listed numerous infractions. In addition to 47 counts of improper labeling and failure to maintain video surveillance systems, Green Springs was cited for failure to maintain biometric locks, failure to restrict access to areas where marijuana is stored and displaying banners outside the dispensary.

The settlement offer proposed a $13,500 fine, with $5,875 suspended upon successful completion of a 180-day probation period. Green Springs had not formally responded to the offer as of Thursday morning. It has until Oct. 1 to accept it or request a hearing. The state can assess fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

Doctor's Orders accepted its settlement offer and paid a $3,550 fine, the state said. The offer included a 180-day probation period. It was charged with improper packaging and storage, improper labeling, changing operational plans without notification, failure to post signs for limited access areas, failure to restrict access to those areas and failure to have a video surveillance system in areas where marijuana is stored.

The commission approved Doctor's Orders' change of ownership Wednesday, allowing Donald Sears to sell the dispensary to Mark Drennan. The contract for sale signed Tuesday conditioned the transfer on the commission approving the ownership change.

According to Drennan's application, he owns a 24.5% stake in the Bold Team cultivation facility in Cotton Plant. The grow operation was the first in the state to sell marijuana to dispensaries. Drennan listed an El Paso address as his residence. He owns the dispensary under M.D. Medicinals LLC, which he registered earlier this month.

A lawsuit filed Sept. 9 in Garland County circuit court involving Green Springs' owners said the dispensary has "systematically and continuously" violated state rules and regulations. Co-owner Bruce Simpson is suing Dragan Vicentic, who according to the company's application for license owns a majority interest in the dispensary as CEO and chairman of the board.

Simpson, listed as security manager/vice chairman, owns 40%. His complaint claimed Vicentic has not distributed profits according to the ownership percentages listed on the application and has banned him from the premises. Vicentic told The Sentinel-Record last week that Simpson did not fulfill the obligations expected of him, and that they had mutually agreed to end their partnership.

The state said Vicentic contacted it about putting a change of ownership request on the agenda of the commission's August meeting. Simpson's complaint said Vicentic made the request without Simpson's knowledge or consent. Emails provided by the state showed Vicentic requested the ownership change be removed from the agenda after the state told him it couldn't be considered without Simpson's consent.

Vicentic could not be reached Thursday for comment about violations found during the July inspection. Scott Hardin, communications director for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, said Thursday that both dispensaries were examined as part of a standard compliance inspection and not in response to a complaint.

Violations also were issued this week to Fiddler's Green dispensary in Mountain View. Eight of 32 licensed dispensaries are in operation.

Metro on 09/20/2019

Print Headline: Violations found at 2 Arkansas medical-marijuana outlets

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