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Court to allow Cannabis Commission to create new licensure rules

The counsel for one awardee, Verano, argued that the commission does not have the authority to “claw back” licenses it has already awarded.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission meets. Jacob Holmes/APR
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The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has announced its intent to unveil a new plan for how to handle the issuance of licenses at ti Thursday meeting, and the court is letting that process play out.

Verano, which lost its status as one of the five awarded integrator licenses, is challenging that process, however, asking the court to revert back to where the licenses stood as initially awarded on June 12.

Verano counsel Saxon Main argued that the commission does not have the authority to “claw back” licenses it has already awarded.

“The statute is very clear that any partial action of the agency gives us rights and protections,” Main said. “Rights have been stripped away from us when they have no right to do that.”

Main argued that the Commission acted outside of its scope of correcting a clerical error with the scoring process, which Verano placed highest in both times.

Mark D. Wilkerson, attorney representing the AMCC, argued that it is clear that the license award is a “privilege” and not a “property right;” therefore, the commission has the right to pull the award and give it to another applicant.

Judge James Anderson asked the attorneys to have orders in Wednesday, so that he could rule on the defendant’s motion to dismiss Verano’s case before the AMCC meets Thursday.

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Will Somerville, an attorney representing Alabama Always in the main lawsuit that has been evolving over the past three months, said he expects Anderson will grant the motion to dismiss Verano’s claim.

That would be a win for Alabama Always, Somerville said, as it would indicate the AMCC does have the authority to rescind the awarding of licenses.

Somerville said he is hopeful to see what changes the commission makes Thursday, but said he doesn’t know what to expect.

“I will say that we made a proposal to the Commission three-and-a-half weeks ago during a settlement sort of discussion, and we never heard back from them,” Somerville said. 

That proposal included unredacting the applications, outside of personally identifying information and “legitimate trade secrets,” and throwing out the scoring process altogether, as Somerville said it doesn’t align with the statutory intent.

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

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