Prospective cultivators of medical marijuana will have to compete for state licenses on a merit-based system, rather than a lottery, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission decided Thursday.

Meeting for the third time in two weeks, the commission did not determine criteria for how it will grade the applications it is scheduled to start receiving next year. Instead, the commissioners approved alterations to the application for obtaining a cultivation license.

Created by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment passed by voters last month, the commission must develop the rules through which Arkansans can begin applying for cultivation and dispensary licenses by June 2017. The Legislature can extend the deadline by a two-thirds vote.

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