In a significant turn of events, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) has paused all proceedings related to the issuing of medical cannabis business licenses.
It was only last week the AMCC announced the awarding of 5 integrated facility, 4 cultivator, 4 processor, 4 dispensary, 3 secure transport and 1 state testing laboratory licences.
The decision to pause proceedings was made on Friday, June 16, 2023 following the discovery of potential inconsistencies in the tabulation of scoring data. As a result, the Commission is seeking an independent review to ensure fairness and accuracy.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are suspending all current procedural timelines until those matters are resolved,” said AMCC Director John McMillan.
The stay issued by the Commission means applicants who were awarded a license on June 12, 2023, will not be obligated to pay the license fee by the original deadline of June 26, 2023. Applicants who were denied the award of a license on the same date will not be required to submit a request for an investigative hearing by June 26, 2023.
Licenses that were scheduled to be issued on July 10, 2023 will not be issued until further notice. A revised timeline for the payment of license fees, submission of investigative hearing requests, and issuance of licenses will be provided to all stakeholders in due course.
After a somewhat lacklustre start, 94 application submissions for various licences were received by the AMCC before the deadline on December 30 last year. Of those, 90 proceeded to the review, evaluation and scoring process. The University of South Alabama was contracted by the AMCC to coordinate that process.
As the nascent medical cannabis industry continues to evolve in Alabama, the Commission is focused on creating a robust and responsible framework prioritizing patient well-being and cultivating a thriving marketplace. But after such a long wait for patients – and businesses – to get to this point, the pause is no doubt quite frustrating for most involved. The exception may be those denied licences, who could potentially now have a better crack at obtaining one if inconsistencies are confirmed.