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State officials fined Hot Springs marijuana cultivation facility for multiple compliance failures



Hot Springs, Arkansas – A Hot Springs marijuana cultivation facility, Leafology, faced a series of charges leading to substantial fines. This outcome resulted from the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board’s (ABC) meeting on Wednesday, where Leafology was fined $10,500 for various violations, including failure to control odors and improper labeling and storage of medical marijuana.

The fines imposed on Leafology could have been as high as $15,500, along with a 15-day suspension. However, the company walked away with a lower fine and no suspension. The charges against Leafology were severe, encompassing a range of violations from odor control failures to inadequacies in storing medical marijuana securely.

Prior to the ABC meeting, Leafology had already paid $5,000 for a substantial loss of inventory – 9,237 grams of marijuana that could not be accounted for. This payment indicates the severity of the oversight issues within the facility.

The meeting also brought to light the concerns of residents living near the Garland County cultivation facility. One resident, Phil Higdon, expressed his frustrations about the ongoing issues with odor, noise, and general disturbance. Higdon remarked on the inadequacy of the fine, suggesting that a suspension would have been a more effective penalty to ensure serious corrective measures by Leafology.

Higdon, representing the sentiments of several residents, highlighted the ineffectiveness of Leafology’s efforts to address these problems. He indicated that the community might have to bring up these issues again if no significant improvements are made.

Representatives for Leafology attributed some of their challenges to extreme weather events. According to their attorney, Damon Singleton, a series of weather-related incidents, including a severe freeze and a hail storm, caused significant damage to the facility’s infrastructure. These events reportedly led to frozen pipes and a damaged roof, contributing to the odor control issues.

Scott Hardin, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, which manages the ABC Division, noted that while most cultivation facilities are in rural areas, Leafology’s proximity to residential areas has heightened the visibility of these issues.

Hardin emphasized that despite the decision to impose a fine rather than a suspension, the ABC would continue to monitor Leafology’s operations. The facility is still required to comply with state regulations, particularly concerning odor control and being a good neighbor to the surrounding community. The ongoing oversight by ABC serves as a reminder that compliance with state regulations is an ongoing responsibility, not just a one-time requirement.

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