Just when it seemed the dust has settled and the path forward clear, there’s been yet another hurdle placed before medicinal cannabis in Alabama.
In June this year, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) announced the awarding of integrated facility, cultivator, processor, dispensary, secure transport and state testing laboratory licences. But less than a week later, proceedings were paused following the discovery of potential inconsistencies in the way scoring data was handled.
This led to a review to ensure fairness and accuracy, carried out by internal senior-level accountants who were not involved with the initial tabulations. An external third party, KPMG, validated the recalculated scores.
“It is regrettable that the tabulation errors occurred, however we have acknowledged the miscalculations and have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the data provided to the Commission was accurate,” said Commission Chairman Rex Vaughn.
Based on the corrected scores, the AMCC nominated and voted to award medical cannabis business licenses to various applicants at its meeting on August 10, 2023. But this second stab at what has been a monumental task has also run into trouble.
WSFA reports a judge granted a temporary restraining order pausing the AMCC’s process to issue licenses last Thursday. This was after a claim by plaintiffs the Commission violated Alabama’s Open Meetings Act. The Commission reportedly did meet behind closed doors for four hours at one point for reasons relating to practicality.
The pause is another spanner in the works for Alabama patients who may benefit from medicinal cannabis.
“We hate any delays because there are patients suffering every day that need these products,” said executive director of the AMCC John McMillan.
As to how long the delay could be is anyone’s guess at this stage, but WSFA reports another hearing concerning the case is scheduled for August 28, and the AMCC has another meeting on August 31.
Under the Alabama Act 2021-450, which established the AMCC, the Commission could award up to twelve cultivator licenses, four processor licenses, four dispensary licenses, five integrated facility licenses and an unspecified number of secure transport and state testing laboratory licenses.