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Legal battle over cannabis licenses continues, AMCC still blocked from issuing licenses

A hearing to determine if the AMCC violated the state’s Open Meetings Act will carry forward on Monday.


The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission will have to endure a hearing over the legality of its process to select which companies receive licenses to operate, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge ruled Thursday. 

Judge James Anderson denied a request from the AMCC to postpone a hearing scheduled for Monday while the Commission voided licenses for the second time and then re-awarded them during a meeting that didn’t include an executive session. Anderson’s decision means Monday’s hearing will move forward and that the AMCC can’t award licenses until after that hearing. 

“The entire process has been shrouded in secrecy. That’s not how government is supposed to work in this country,” Will Somerville, an attorney for Alabama Always, which was denied a license, said after the hearing.

At issue during Monday’s hearing will be the AMCC’s decision to hold a secret vote while in an executive session, and to also hold all deliberations concerning the selection of companies to receive licenses while in executive session. 

Numerous companies and individuals have filed lawsuits over the meeting, claiming that commissioners were in violation of the Alabama Open Meetings Act. 

There are also a number of other legal challenges and arguments that are likely to crop up during the hearing, as numerous companies have filed lawsuits challenging several different aspects of the AMCC’s selection and review processes for awarding licenses. 

Earlier this week, Verano, which was the top scoring applicant for an integrated license brought to light a new issue in a lawsuit it filed. Verano was originally awarded a license during the first round of decisions, but those licenses were later voided by the Commission when it discovered “flaws” within its scoring process. After the re-grades, and after the Commission decided to allow commissioners to each nominate their favorite company – yet another wholesale change in the selection process – Verano was denied a license. 

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In its lawsuit, Verano argues that nothing in the law passed by the Alabama Legislature provides AMCC with the authority to revoke licenses. If that’s the case, the court could decide that the AMCC was bound to honor its original decisions and everything that has happened since is moot. 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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