One week into the opening of applications into the cannabis industry, there are already many more suitors then there are licenses to give.
John McMillan, head of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, said there have already been around 200 total application requests with still a month left for applications to be made. But McMillan said he expects the number of serious contenders will be much smaller as this initial application is merely a request to receive the comprehensive application for. License.
“This initial application is just a name, phone number and address type of thing,” McMillan said. “I think when they see comprehensive requirements for full-blown application, a lot are going to lose interest.”
The commission broke down the requests by county at its monthly meeting Thursday, at which time there were 179 requests. Most of the applications came from Alabama’s most populous counties — 28 requests from Jefferson, 19 from Madison, 14 from Montgomery and 13 each from Mobile and Tuscaloosa. Meanwhile, 25 counties had yet to make a single request in the opening week.
There are multiple licensing options that include cultivators, processors, secure transporters, state testing labs and dispensaries, plus five integrated licenses for companies to perform multiple operations.
The Legislature capped the number of licenses for each type; up to 12 cultivator licenses, five integrated licenses four dispensary licenses — so McMillan expects there still to be a lot fo competition even if the number of real applicants is a significant fraction of those testing the waters.
The deadline to request a comprehensive application is Oct. 17, and the application will be sent out on Oct. 24. At that point, applicants will have until Dec. 30 to submit their applications to have a chance at a license.
McMillan said the commission will begin work soon on determining how it will evaluate and select applications.
“We are looking at options right now,” McMillan said. “Ultimately, the commission is going to make the final decision. We have commissioners with fantastic expertise in several different areas and we anticipate several of them will be involved in the evaluation process as we move forward.”
The licenses will be issued next summer.