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Third Time Lucky: Alabama Awards 5 Coveted Integrated Licences But Decision Remains Controversial

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) have succeeded in awarding licences to five vertically integrated medical cannabis facilities after a long and complex legal battle.

Following two failed attempts to award the licences this year, the regulator has now given five companies the green light to cultivate, process, transport and sell cannabis.

These were awarded to Trulieve Alabama, Sustainable Alabama, Wagon Trail Med-Serv, Flowerfood Medical Cannabis and Speciality Medical Products of Alabama.

Its selection process has once again proven controversial, and at least one lawsuit is already thought to have been filed.

In June 2023, the AMCC members initially approved license winners using a third-party scoring process. However, regulators cancelled these awards due to potential inconsistencies in the scoring.

They attempted a re-award on Aug. 10, excluding Verano in the process, seeing it quickly file lawsuits, while further claims of Open Meetings Act violations led to a pause. A settlement in October allowed the commissioners to resume the process with a new emergency rule.

Instead of using a blind, third-party scoring system, nine out of 12 commissioners scored the 33 integrated facility applicants at a meeting last week.

They then voted on which ones to award licenses. The commissioners gave the applicants a chance to make presentations during a four-day window last week. The General Counsel reminded commissioners that previous scoring results had no impact on the current rankings.

The top three scoring applicants, Sustainable Alabama, Wagon Trail and Flowerwood Medical, were all given licences.

However, Trulieve and Specialty Medical Products, which secured the final two licences, ranked 12th and 32nd in the council’s list, fuelling further unrest amongst the applicants which were passed over.

“I thank all of the integrated facility applicants for their diligent efforts throughout this lengthy licensing process,” AMCC Chairman Rex Vaughn said.

“I cannot emphasize strongly enough how much I appreciate the commitment and hard work of each commissioner as we have navigated through this phase of the program. The result of these efforts has led to the award of licenses to entities who the commission has determined are well-suited to serve patients through Alabama’s medical cannabis program.”

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