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Medical Cannabis Commission releases schedule of fees, penalties and fines

In 2021, the Alabama state legislature approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana and create the AMCC.

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The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission released Monday a schedule of fees, penalties  and fines in relation to business applicants and future users of medical marijuana in the state, along with the addition of the Cannabis Business Applicants page to the commission’s website.

The schedule of charges was approved by the commission during their meeting in Montgomery on Aug. 11, and includes the approved prices for patient and caregiver registration and renewal for medical cannabis cards, as well as the various license fees required for businesses seeking entrance into the market.

The AMCC is not receiving business applications until Sept. 1, with the forms scheduled for issuance to requesters on Oct. 24, according to the commission’s website.

According to a copy of the monetary schedule obtained by APR on Tuesday, patients and caregivers seeking a physical card will be required to pay a $50 registration application fee, with the option to register for a virtual card set at $40. The renewal fee for both the physical and virtual cards is the same cost for applying for each paid annually.

Replacement fees for a physical card are $25, with virtual card replacement set at $20.

For businesses, the license application fee is set at $2,500, with the annual license fee for transporters and testing laboratories, the price set at $30,000; For cultivators, processors, and dispensaries, the annual license fee will be $40,000; With the so-called “Integrated Facilities”, which combine cultivating, processing, distributing and transporting of cannabis into one facility, will have the highest annual fee per license set at $50,000.

The state will allow up to 12 licenses for growing medical cannabis, four licenses for both processing and distribution, and five licenses for integrated facilities, with no license cap for cannabis testing facilitates or transportation, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

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A spokesperson for the AMCC told APR on Tuesday that the fee schedule aligns with the previously enacted Alabama statute related to medical cannabis.

“While it is difficult to predict program implementation costs, the Commission wants to ensure that the fees adequately cover the expenses of software databases, card printing/mailing, staffing, facility inspections and application review,” the spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday. “The Commission will consider and may adjust the fee schedule at least annually.”

Melissa Mullins, a lobbyist and founder of Alabamians 4 Medical Cannabis Freedom & Disability Rights group, said in a statement released to reporters on Tuesday that the fees approved by the AMCC would hurt smaller businesses and farmers seeking a state license to deal in medical cannabis will be put at a disadvantage to larger entities and investors.

“The bottom line is this: We are afraid (and convinced), that the only ones with access to ‘big time’ funds and backers will dominate the industry; leaving small Alabama businesses/farms with absolutely no chance,” Mullins said in the statement released Tuesday. “Additionally, it is becoming clear that only certain businesses/farmers will be able to compete for licenses. The question/concern arises–Do they (the commission/legislators) already know who they want to be awarded licenses, and have made the fees and costs so high that they won’t have to worry about denying small businesses/farmers in Alabama, because they won’t even be able to apply?”

In 2021, the Alabama State Legislature approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana and create the AMCC as the main regulatory body for the limited amount of businesses that will be allowed to deal in medical cannabis. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey later signed the bill into law in mid-May of 2021.

The approved forms for medical marijuana will not include smokable marijuana bud or edibles, but rather restrict it to tablet, oil, cream, or inhalable oil forms, among others, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

The best estimates of when Alabamians will be able to use medical cannabis to treat disease and illnesses put next spring as the likely time.

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John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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