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Medical Cannabis Commission receives 94 license applications

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

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All the applications are in, and now the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has some decisions to make as to who will get what licenses.

Despite having only nine applications 24 hours before the deadline,  the commission closed out at the deadline with 94 total applications being returned.

“Applicants have provided plans for production, business operations, facilities and security, to name a few, as part of their application,” commission chairman and oncologist Steven Stokes said in a press release. “Although reviewing these competitive applications is a huge undertaking, we will continue to move forward in implementing a fair and robust process that makes public health and safety a top priority.”

“The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission announced late Friday afternoon that they received over 90 applications for medical cannabis business licenses by the deadline. We are pleased to see this impressive number of applicants and companies looking to participate in the state’s medical cannabis industry,” said the Alabama Medical Cannabis Association.

“With the high engagement from our members and interest across the state, we look forward to seeing the impact of this emerging supply chain in Alabama,” says Patrick Lindsey, Director of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Association.

Some of the license types have more competition than others. For example, under the law, the commission can only issue five licenses for integrated facilities, which combine multiple other licenses. The commission will have its work cut out to make those selections after receiving 38 applications for integrated facility licenses.

Additionally, 18 applications were returned for dispensary licenses, but the commission can only award four. The commission will also have to choose up to four of the 12 applicants for a processor license.

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The commission can award 12 cultivator licenses, and exactly 12 applications were submitted for such licenses. The commission is not obligated to award a license to each of those applications, however.

The commission also received 11 secure transport applications and 3 state testing laboratory applications. The statute does not limit the number of these licenses that can be awarded.

The review, evaluation and scoring of applications will serve as the basis of the Commission’s decisions regarding award of licenses. This determination will be reached based on the merits of each application as expressed by ranked score. The commission has engaged the University of South Alabama to establish teams of academic evaluators and other qualified individuals to review, evaluate and score business license applications. The commission has complete discretion as to the number of licenses awarded (not to exceed the limits provided by the Act) and the applicants to whom licenses are awarded.

The Commission will make applicant names and application contents available for public inspection following the formal submission of applications (slated to take place at the April 13, 2023, Commission meeting). The Commission will accept public comments on the formally submitted applications for 30 days following the submission of applications.

At its meeting on June 12, 2023, the Commission is scheduled to award licenses in each license category. Once the business licenses have been issued, physicians may begin the certification process to recommend medical cannabis to qualified patients.

“The Commission spent much of 2022 laying the groundwork for Alabama’s medical cannabis industry by drafting rules and regulations, obtaining software tracking systems, and developing the business applications,” said Director John McMillan. “We are excited to utilize the strong framework we put together to implement a safe and operational medical cannabis industry as we move into 2023.”

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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