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Commission awards competitive licenses for medical cannabis industry

Competition was particularly strong for integrated facility and dispensary licenses.

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The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission announced its selections Monday to get the coveted licenses for the cultivating, dispensing and processing of medical cannabis, as well as licenses for transport and lab testing.

Under the law, the commission could only award five integrated licenses (which allow for the complete process,) four dispensary licenses, four processor licenses and 12 cultivator licenses. the law did not limit the number of transportation or lab testing licenses that can be issued.

“There was no shortage of qualified individuals and entities who provided applications for us to consider,” said Dr. Steven Stokes, commission chairman and oncologist. “Based on the evaluators’ assessments and the Commission’s considerations, we believe that we have selected an outstanding slate of inaugural licensees to represent Alabama’s new medical cannabis industry.” 

The integrated facility license was by far the most competitive, with 38 applicants vying for just five licenses. There were 11 applicants competing for the four dispensary applications. The commission only awarded four cultivator licenses out of 12 in this round.

The University of South Alabama coordinated the application review process and recruited evaluators to assess the scored exhibit items for all 90 applicants. USA utilized 66 evaluators, with experience relevant to the application content, to review one of eight scoring categories: (1) Financial Ability; (2) Business/Management Approach; (3) Operations Plans & Procedures; (4) Facility Suitability and  Infrastructure; (5) Security Plan; (6) Personnel; (7) Quality Control & Testing; or (8) Marketing and Advertising. Each scored exhibit was independently reviewed by two evaluators to assess the applicant’s solvency, stability, suitability, capability, projected efficiency, and experience, both in relation to any baseline set by the Commission as well as in comparison with other applicants.

“The Commission has worked diligently since the passage of the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Act to develop regulations and policies to facilitate an effective and safe medical cannabis industry,” said Commission Director John McMillan. “We are excited to begin working with those applicants who were awarded licenses to meet the needs of so many Alabamians who are living with debilitating conditions that can benefit from medical cannabis.”

Those applicants who were awarded a license will have 14 days to submit the appropriate license fee to the Commission. At its meeting on July 10, 2023, the Commission is scheduled to issue licenses in each license category.

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Under the rules promulgated by the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, physicians may begin the certification process to recommend medical cannabis after business licenses have been issued. For a patient to qualify for medical cannabis, the patient must have at least one of the qualifying conditions and be recommended for medical cannabis by a certified physician.

Vice Chairman Rex Vaughn announced at the meeting that the Commission intends to open a  second offering of licenses for cultivators, secure transporters, and state testing laboratories.

“The Commission looks forward to affording more opportunities for individuals to participate in the industry,” explained Mr. Vaughn. “These businesses will not only serve Alabama patients but provide business and job opportunities for local communities.”

The Legislature could also expand the industry in the future by amending the law to allow for more licenses. As of now, there is no way for the commission to issue any more of the most coveted licenses.

The following entities were awarded the licenses:

INTEGRATED FACILITIES

  • Flowerwood Medical Cannabis, LLC
  • Southeast Cannabis Company, LLC
  • Sustainable Alabama, LLC
  • TheraTrue Alabama, LLC
  • Verano Alabama, LLC

DISPENSARIES

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  • CCS of Alabama, LLC
  • RJK Holdings AL, LLC
  • Statewide Property Holdings AL, LLC
  • Yellowhammer Medical Dispensaries, LLC

CULTIVATORS

  • Blackberry Farms, LLC
  • Gulf Shore Remedies, LLC
  • Pure by Sirmon Farms, LLC
  • Twisted Herb Cultivation, LLC

PROCESSORS

  • 1819 Labs, LLC
  • Enchanted Green, LLC
  • Jasper Development Group Inc.
  • Organic Harvest Lab, LLC

SECURE TRANSPORT

  • Alabama Secure Transport, LLC
  • International Communication, LLC
  • Tyler Van Lines, LLC

LAB TESTING

  • Certus Laboratories

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

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