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Opinion | Alabama’s medical cannabis industry grows to meet demand

We believe in the power of medical cannabis to change Alabama for the better.

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The demand for legal medical cannabis in our state is only growing. According to a recent poll conducted by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Association (AMCA) and the Mowry Consulting Group in October 2022, 79 percent of respondents favored medicinal marijuana while 9 percent were against it. This overwhelming support across party lines not only proves consumer need for this product but also the state’s need for a safely regulated business environment. It’s a novel venture for Alabama, and in order to succeed, this emerging industry must have a diligent advocate. 

We created (AMCA) to promote safe, affordable, and accessible medical cannabis for the people of Alabama who need it. Our organization serves as a responsible resource for policymakers; works for a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for this new business field; and enhances the trust of Alabamians in the medical cannabis industry. Amongst the deadly fentanyl-laced street drugs and the opioid epidemic devastating our state, there’s never been more of a need for controlled, medically prescribed cannabis. AMCA’s goal is to make Alabama’s medical cannabis industry a commonsense operation that saves lives and eases suffering while supporting local agriculture and small businesses.

We founded our organization from a place of compassion, and our mission has been met with confidence from local leaders. So far, 64 municipalities and local governments throughout the state have issued ordinances and resolutions with AMCA to authorize the operation of medical cannabis dispensaries within their local jurisdictions. It’s clear that Alabamians are searching for a solution to our deadly drug problem, and we believe a safe, regulated medical cannabis industry will provide much-needed relief. 

Local businesses met our enthusiasm. From September 1 through October 17, 2022, the Commission received 607 requests for business applications. The different license categories include Integrated Facility (with 133 applications), Cultivator (with 124 applications), Processor (with 35 applications), Dispensary (with 239 applications), Secure Transporter (with 69 applications), and State Testing Laboratory (with 7 applications).

Alabama is the 37th state to legalize cannabis. AMCA is in a prime position to learn from the successes and failures of our neighbors so Alabama’s emerging cannabis industry flourishes. As a reliable resource, AMCA is dedicated to sharing this valuable information with growers, policymakers, businesses, and consumers through continuing education classes. 

We believe in the power of medical cannabis to change Alabama for the better. It’s a reliable solution for patients in need, as well as an antidote to our state’s illegal drug and opioid epidemic. Concurrently, establishing a strong regulatory framework for growers and distributors will only boost our economy. The numbers don’t lie: The demand for medical cannabis is stronger than ever, and we’re poised to deliver it safely and securely to the people of Alabama.

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