LITTLE ROCK — An applicant for a license to operate a medical-marijuana facility cannot hire a lobbyist on a contingency basis, the state Ethics Commission said Friday in an advisory opinion.


The panel issued the opinion in response to a question from Jonesboro lawyer Brandon Lacey, who had asked whether an entity seeking a license to operate a medical-marijuana cultivation center or dispensary can legally agree to pay a lobbyist for his or her lobbying efforts during the application process with a portion of revenue from the facility if the entity’s application is approved.


The commission said in its opinion that under Arkansas Code Annotated 21-8-607, a lobbyist may not contract to receive compensation that is “dependent on any manner upon the success or failure of a legislative or administrative action,” so the answer to Lacey’s question was no.


Lacy also had asked whether the entity could agree to pay the lobbyist with a share of ownership in the facility. The commission said the answer was again no.


“Such an arrangement appears to violate the letter and the spirit and the letter of the statute,” the panel said in the opinion.