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Medical Cannabis Commission issues stay on recently approved licenses

The decision comes as AMCC is embroiled in multiple lawsuits connected to flaws in their application process.

The logo of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. STOCK

During a meeting Thursday the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) voted to impose a stay on the issuance of licenses that were awarded on Aug. 10.

The decision comes as AMCC is embroiled in multiple lawsuits connected to flaws in their application process when awarding licenses to medicinal marijuana companies. One of the companies, Alabama Always LLC, is also suing the AMCC for violating the Open Meetings Record Act during their Aug. 10 meeting. During that meeting the commission went into executive session and the commissioners nominated their preferred candidates privately, behind closed doors. 

“During its most recent meeting, the Commission retreated into executive session for three and a half hours, where each commissioner nominated their preferred candidate to receive one of the several medical cannabis licenses,” Bill Britt wrote for APR. “After the commissioners selected their preferred candidates, the staff gathered the sealed nominations and tabulated the results behind closed doors.”

Licenses that were planned to be issued on Sept. 7 will now be paused indefinitely until the stay is lifted by the commission. Also due to the stay awardees of the Aug. 10 licenses have no obligation to pay license fees and the entities denied licenses have no obligation to submit a request for an investigative hearing. 

“The Commission has a singular goal of ensuring that medical cannabis products reach patients in need of them. The Commission’s action today, while pausing the process, furthers that goal by attempting to avoid additional legal challenges,” Chairman Rex Vaughn said in a press release. “We understand that litigation is an obstacle just as it has been in every other state that has a medical cannabis program. However, we appreciate and join in the Court’s commitment to seeing that Alabama’s program becomes operational sooner rather than later.”

A hearing will be held on the alleged Open Meetings Act violation by the AMCC on Sept. 6. 

“I am confident in the process that the Commission has used to evaluate applications and select licensees,” Vice Chairman Sam Blakemore said. “Nonetheless, I welcome reasonable discussions with interested parties about the process as directed by the Court and I am hopeful that we will soon move forward with our program.”

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

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