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Gadsden mayor appoints medical cannabis recruitment task force

The city of Gadsden is rolling out the red carpet for medical cannabis businesses interested in locating in Gadsden.

Craig Ford VIA BCA

The City of Gadsden is rolling out the red carpet for medical cannabis businesses interested in locating in Gadsden. To assist with managing the influx of inquiries pouring in, Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford has appointed a task team of individuals charged with assisting applicants seeking licenses to operate their medical cannabis business in Gadsden.  

“This is a rare opportunity to be ‘first to market’ for a brand new sector of industry in the state of Alabama,” said Ford. “The legislation authorizing medical cannabis was passed by the Alabama Legislature and Governor Kay Ivey. This pill-form medical cannabis is highly regulated, controlled, and extremely beneficial to the patients who need it. With the incoming regional cancer treatment center and our dynamic network of hospitals, clinics, and physicians, bringing this industry to Gadsden will be a major economic complement for our community.”  

The task team will coordinate contacts and outreach for the various types of businesses expressing interest or inquiring about property and regulations in Gadsden, which will ensure that those businesses have everything they need to meet the December 31, 2022, application deadline with the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. The team consists of the following members: 

  • John Moore, member of Mayor Ford’s transition team 
  • Jason Wilson, city councilman for District 5 
  • Larry Avery, city councilman for District 3 
  • Brett Johnson, chief of staff to the mayor 
  • Nick Hall, director of planning for the City of Gadsden 
  • Tina Cody, zoning administrator for the City of Gadsden 
  • Lesa Osborn, director of the Gadsden Commercial Development Authority 
  • David Hooks, director of the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority 
  • Erin Patterson, paralegal for the City of Gadsden  

The City of Gadsden is one of fewer than 30 municipalities in the state who have passed an ordinance or resolution authorizing medical cannabis businesses to operate within the city.  

Now, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is taking applications for licenses to operate integrated facilities, cultivators, processors, dispensaries, secure transportation, or a state licensing laboratory. It is anticipated that approved licensees will strive to begin operations by June 1, 2023.  

Last week, the City of Gadsden Planning Commission approved a recommended zoning chart of permitted uses that will clarify where each type of medical cannabis business would be allowed to operate in the city. According to the mayor’s office, the proposed zoning regulations are as friendly as possible to those interested in obtaining a license to operate in Gadsden.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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There is strong competition particularly for integrated facility licenses, with 38 applicants vying for only five licenses.


Commissioner John McMillan said indicators point to several last-minute applications.

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Johnson previously served as Ford’s constituent services director in the Alabama Legislature.   


The deadline to apply is December 30.


The poll found that 79 percent of likely voters favor legal, medical cannabis in Alabama.

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Ford says he is “ready to report for duty” as mayor of the city of Gadsden after winning the 2022 Gadsden mayoral election this...


Around 200 total requests have been submitted in the first week of applications.


Interested parties must request an application form by Oct. 17 and will have until Dec. 30 to submit the application.