The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) has revised its procedures to address concerns raised by litigants and to find a path forward with the state’s licensing process.
The AMCC recently voted to halt the issuance of Alabama’s cannabis licenses that were awarded on 10 August following a number of lawsuits filed against the state.
Alabama Always LLC initiated legal action, alleging a breach of the Open Meetings Record Act. The company suggests the Commission nominated preferred candidates in private. Medical cannabis company Verano also filed a lawsuit, suing the Commission for revoking its business license due to application score errors, claiming the Commission exceeded its authority. The company called for its licence reinstated, asserting that the commission lacks the power to “void” licenses.
The Commission’s representatives have recently carried out discussions with parties involved in litigation at the request of The Montgomery County Circuit Court. The discussions aimed to enable the Commission to carry out its statutorily-mandated responsibilities without further delay and court intervention.
The Commission has adopted new rules under emergency and regular rulemaking procedures in order to expedite the availability of medical cannabis.
Mark Wilkerson, attorney for AMCC, stated: “While these discussions have not resulted in a proposed agreement, they have helped clarify the parties’ positions and identified concerns that need to be addressed for the licensing process to continue.
“We understand that the proposed changes will not satisfy all parties, but we have considered all available options in order to resume the licensing process in an expeditious manner.”
The AMCC has stated that the newly adopted procedures retain the previous score results and provide applicants with an opportunity to make a presentation to the Commission regarding matters identified in their application and their score results.
Additionally, applicants will also be able to respond to preliminary pass/fail items, submit exhibits that were not previously filed.
It has also confirmed that several new revisions to the rules help to ensure consistency, providing clarification for the investigative hearing process for applications that have been denied, as well as removing the associated fee for the hearings.
Commission Chairman, Rex Vaughn, stated: “We believe that the actions taken today will strengthen the existing rules and process implemented by the Commission.
“There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to satisfy all parties, but we feel that the Court will see these changes as reasonable and responsible. We hope that everyone will agree to let this process continue in the shared goal of delivering medical cannabis products to patients who so desperately need it.”
“When considering these amended procedures, it was important that this process move forward as swiftly as possible,” added Vice Chairman Dr. Sam Blakemore.
“Patients have waited far too long, and any efforts to obstruct our progress is only delaying access to patients.”