Alabama Regulators Plan To Issue Medical Cannabis Licenses By Year’s End

October 16, 2023 · High Times

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) hopes to issue licenses for medical marijuana cultivators and distributors by the end of 2023, officials with the agency said last week. The plan, which was approved by the commission on October 12, comes following multiple lawsuits were filed challenging the rollout of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Alabama state lawmakers legalized the use of medical cannabis for patients with certain qualifying conditions in 2021. But nearly two and a half years later, cannabis is still not available for the patients who need it.

The AMCC issued its first round of licenses in June of this year. But only four days later, the commission put a hold on the licenses and eventually rescinded them because of errors in tabulating applications. Licenses for the potentially lucrative permits were again issued on August 10, but lawsuits challenging the process were filed by unsuccessful applicants. 

“There are claims alleging the scoring was deficient in various areas. We’ve had claims, speculating that the scoring is inconsistent for different reasons,” said Mark Wilkerson, an AMCC attorney.

A judge issued a temporary restraining order in the case, and the licenses were put on hold once again. The restraining order still stands but could be lifted by the judge at a hearing later this week. A separate lawsuit from successful applicants challenging the commission’s decision to rescind the original licenses was dismissed by the judge in the case on October 11.

AMCC Approves New Licensing Procedure

One day later, the commission adopted an emergency rule to approve a new process for awarding the licenses that allows applicants to make a presentation to the agency. Commissioners will also consider the scores of previously submitted applications. With the new procedure in place, the AMCC hopes to begin issuing licenses by the end of the year.

“It kind of is a reset,” commission chairman Rex Vaughn said after the end of the meeting, according to a report from the Associated Press. “We think we have a process to move forward, not ditching what we’ve already done, but making use of it as best as possible.”

Attorney Will Somerville represents Alabama Always, a Montgomery company that was not awarded a license after investing $7 million in a cultivation facility. He said that the new process allowing the company to make a presentation to the commission is a positive development.

“The commission should be evaluating people based on whether they are available to commence cultivation within 60 days after receiving a license and reaching full capacity,” Somerville told local media. “Most of the applicants who got awarded licenses, or five of them, aren’t able to do that.”

Somerville added that the earlier licenses were awarded based on “how pretty is your application and not whether you can really do it,” and said that the new process “will allow us to explain why we can commence cultivation faster than anybody else.”

Patients Waiting for MMJ

The slow rollout of Alabama’s medical marijuana program has frustrated patients eager to take advantage of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. Amanda Taylor, 49, used to live in Arizona, where she used medical marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis. She said that medical cannabis can help ease spasms and pain caused by the disease, but it is still not available in Alabama.

“It’s vital for patients like myself, who are suffering,” Taylor said. “It’s not about getting high. It’s about healing.”

Alabama’s medical marijuana law allows patients with certain serious medical conditions including multiple sclerosis, autism, Crohn’s disease, certain cancers, depression and Parkinson’s disease, among others, to use cannabis medicinally. The AMCC chairman hopes the commission’s new licensing procedure will allow the agency to issue new licenses in 2023.

“Our goal is to get to a have a victory lap by the end of the year,” said Vaughn. “Well, we’ll see how that goes. But it’s going to take a lot of work on the part of our commission members.” (Full Story)

In category:Medical
Next Post

Island hopping: A new cannabis wholesale route in Hawaii

A handful of medical cannabis companies in Hawaii are selling and delivering wholesale flower and other marijuana products from one island to another, a first for the state and a rare sales route anywhere in the U.S. Island hopping by…
Previous Post

Alabama Medical Cannabis Regulators Pass New Rules; Aiming to Issue Licenses by Year’s End

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) on Thursday passed new rules to reset the license application process for the third time, WIAT reports. Under the new rules, the agency will reconsider the applications they already have, and the scores will remain, but…
Random Post

Auto Union Workers Go On Strike and Get 25% Off at Their Local Marijuana Dispensary in Michigan

Ultra Cannabis, a recreational dispensary headquartered in Michigan, is demonstrating its solidarity with the committed members and suppliers of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union during the ongoing strike against prominent automakers. In a gesture of support, Ultra Cannabis has…
Random Post

New Jersey Senators Discuss Top Lawmaker’s Psilocybin Legalization Bill In Committee

A New Jersey Senate committee held a hearing on Monday to discuss a bill that would legalize the possession, home cultivation and gifting of psilocybin mushrooms for adults 21 and older while also creating a system of licensed businesses to…
Random Post

California Task Force Seizes Nearly 100K Weed Plants in Three Months

California’s Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) seized nearly 100,000 cannabis plants over the last three months, according to an announcement from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. State officials lauded the seizures on Friday, saying that illegal weed grow…
Random Post

South Dakota adult-use marijuana legalization effort launches – again

South Dakota legalization advocates will try for a third time to put adult-use marijuana on voters’ ballots. The campaign, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, has until May 7 to collect 12,500 signatures from registered voters to qualify to appear on the…