The lawsuit by Eureka Green, a rejected contender for an Arkansas medical marijuana dispensary license, is headed to a courtroom closer to the company's Carroll County headquarters at the order of a Pulaski County circuit judge.
Judge Tim Fox on Monday sent the week-old litigation challenging Eureka Green's license denial to Carroll County. The case had fallen to Fox after the original judge, Mackie Pierce, recused.
Carroll County residents have a vested interest in the outcome of the case, especially if the lawsuit has to be resolved with a jury trial, Fox wrote.
"It is patently clear from the ... complaint that the best interests of judicial economy and efficiency are served by this matter being conducted in Carroll County ... that the citizens, residents, and taxpayers of Carroll County have a substantial interest in this matter being conducted in Carroll County," Fox wrote.
The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court because the state-regulator defendants are all in Little Rock. Such cases used to have to be decided in Pulaski County, but the General Assembly changed that requirement in 2017.
The move transfers the proceedings to the courtroom of Circuit Judge Scott Jackson of the 19th East Judicial Circuit, which is headquartered in Berryville.
Eureka Green, also known as Carroll County Holdings Inc., has petitioned the courts to order those medical marijuana regulators, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission and the Department of Finance and Administration's Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, to stop licensing any more facilities pending a judicial review of the procedure.
Eureka Green contends the process violates fair-play constitutional protections and open-government laws.
The company is asking the court to order regulators to reinstate its dispensary license application and award the company the next available license in its region.