A Montgomery Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday that the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has the authority to void licenses it has awarded.
Judge James Anderson found that the AMCC has the inherent power to void previously awarded licenses to fulfill its legislatively mandated duties, and accordingly dismissed a suit brought by Verano Alabama alleging that the commission had exceeded its authority.
Verano is the only company that was awarded an integrated license in the initial June 12 proceedings by the commission, only to lose its license when the AMCC announced new license awards in August.
Attorney Saxon Main argued on Verano’s behalf Tuesday that the “partial action” of the commission established a right for the company to contest the change.
“When the Commission saw that its primary consideration may have been compromised by inaccurate information related to the applications, it took reasonable steps to correct its course,” Anderson wrote in the order dismissing Verano’s suit. “It cannot have been the Legislature’s intention to bind the Commission a decision that subjected it to inevitable challenges in lengthy and resource-draining litigation.”
Anderson had said at a Tuesday hearing that he would like to rule on the motion before the Commission meets again Thursday morning to announce procedural changes that AMC Vice Chair Sam Blakemore said he hopes will make everyone happy.
The dismissal of the Verano suit is seen as a win by Alabama Always attorney Will Somerville, who said Tuesday that dismissing the case would reinforce the Commission’s authority to void the previously awarded licenses—Alabama Always was one of many companies that failed to be awarded a coveted license.
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.