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Court filing challenges eligibility of Medical Cannabis Commission chair

The plaintiff, Kimberly Holcomb, filed the complaint Wednesday against Stokes, asking the court to declare his chairmanship invalid.

Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission
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A new court filing is challenging the eligibility of Dr. Steven Stokes to serve as chairman of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.

The plaintiff, Kimberly Holcomb, filed the complaint Wednesday against Stokes, asking the court to declare his chairmanship invalid and issue a writ of quo to warrant removing him from the seat.

Stokes told WBRC that he plans to fight the complaint.

“I’m staying. I’ve told my attorney we’re going to fight this attempt to derail the work of the commission,” Stokes said Thursday.

The complaint cites the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act that created the Medical Cannabis Commission, which states that “any current public official, candidate for public office, current public employee, or registered lobbyist may not serve as a [Commission] member.”

As a recently reappointed member of the University of South Alabama Board of Trustees, the complaint argues that Stokes is clearly a public official and thus should be ineligible to be a commission member, much less chairman.

There is no indication in the complaint of Holcomb’s background or why she in particular brought this complaint, other than being an affected citizen in the state of Alabama. However, she is represented by attorney Will Somerville, who is also representing Alabama Always as the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the commission regarding its licensing process.

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Attorneys for Holcomb immediately requested the complaint be consolidated into that lawsuit, stating that the question of Stokes’ eligibility “raises questions regarding the validity of the Commission’s actions, both in the past and in the future.”

“Dr. Stokes, a University of South Alabama trustee, has been the leading proponent of the Commission’s plan to rubber-stamp the USA scorers’ opaque scores,” the plaintiffs argue. “Dr. Stokes’s eligibility to serve on the Commission is thus front and center of both in these civil actions.”

The motion also requests an expedited hearing on the matter ahead of the scheduled Aug. 10 meeting of the commission to re-award licenses.

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

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