Dispensary seeks delay in license revocation hearing, ABC pushes back

Brian Chilson

The lawyer for a Hot Springs medical marijuana dispensary has asked to delay a hearing next week over the revocation of the facility’s license, but a state regulatory official said the agency would oppose a delay unless the dispensary closed in the meantime.

Attorney Q. Byrum Hurst represents Dragan Vicentic, the owner of Green Springs Medical dispensary. Hurst said in a letter sent to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division Tuesday that he needs more time to review the allegations against his client.

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The decision to delay the hearing, which is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, rests with the ABC Board.

Chip Leibovich, an ABC staff attorney, responded to Hurst on Thursday, saying the agency opposes a delay and would object to such a request at Wednesday’s meeting unless the dispensary ceases all operations until a hearing is held.

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“ABC is concerned your client will continue to mislead patients and sell them inferior products if allowed to continue to operate,” Leibovich wrote.

The ABC revoked Vicentic’s dispensary license on May 2 when ABC Director Christy Bjornson sent Vicentic a letter detailing a litany of violations, including the inability to locate cannabis items in its inventory, a failure to cooperate with ABC enforcement and the sale of more than 1,800 products with expired lab tests.

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“There is no suitable fine that can correct or otherwise control [Green Springs Medical’s] reckless endangerment of cannabis patients,” Bjornson said in the letter. “The only available remedy is to revoke [the permit.]”

In his letter yesterday, Hurst said he needs more time to prepare for the hearing and said he has had difficulty tracking down former employee Shana Weidl. Hurst said Weidl was in charge of the dispensary’s grow operations but is “no longer with Green Springs Medical” and is not an Arkansas resident.

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Leibovich said in his response that Hurst’s admission that “Weidl is no longer with Green Springs” amounted to a violation, because Weidl still holds a valid state-issued card to work in at Green Springs. Dispensaries are obligated to notify the ABC when employees leave or are terminated, Leibovich said.

“This further demonstrates that your client has no interest in regulatory compliance,” Leibovich said.

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Leibovich said Vicentic was provided notice of the hearing on April 3 and that Vicentic could have retained counsel sooner.

“His failure to do so is not good cause for a continuance,” Leibovich wrote.

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