A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge has delayed a July 13 hearing over medical cannabis licenses, allowing the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission more time to complete an independent review of its troubled application process.
Judge James Anderson has not rescheduled the hearing in the case, in which two applicant companies – Hornet Medicinals and Alabama Always LLC – have asked the court to force the AMCC to restart its application process and fix a variety of issues that the companies say improperly led to them not receiving licenses. Anderson is likely to set at least a tentative date for the hearing during a status conference between the parties on Thursday.
At a June 16 meeting, the AMCC put in place a stay of its own on the licenses it awarded just four days earlier on June 12, admitting to “inconsistencies” in the license review process. That process was primarily handled by a group of graduate students at the University of South Alabama. The Commission did not oppose the stay put in place by Anderson during a hearing on June 23.
The lawsuit filed initially by Alabama Always raises questions about the application and review processes and asks the court to force the AMCC to cease using third-party graders for the application process. The suit also asks that the Commission be forced to open the selection process to the public, noting that the selections of all 21 (out of 90) companies that received a license were handled during executive session with no public discussion at all.
It’s likely that the legal haggling and potential reset of the application process will delay the availability of medical marijuana to patients. The Commission had originally planned to have products available by the end of the year or the start of 2024.
However, more lawsuits are expected, depending on how the court and the Commission decide to handle the current problems. Those could grind the process to a halt, depending on a number of factors.