The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) adopted new rules and regulations regarding prospective applications during its meeting Thursday.
The AMCC felt the new rules and procedures were necessary to expedite the licensing process and address issues they received from litigants involved in lawsuits against the commission. Several medical cannabis companies have filed litigation against the commission for its faulty application process.
The commission’s new regulations include the following:
- Retain previous applicant scores while allowing new presentations to address concerns about application. Presentations for integrated facility licenses will be 45 minutes, while all other license presentations are 20 minutes.
- Reduce scope of redactions on applications and allow a second public comment period.
- Allow applicants to submit a written document to the Commission after failing a preliminary pass/fail item. This will allow applicants the opportunity to demonstrate why their application should not be rejected.
- Due to file size limitations in the application portal applicants will be allowed to submit full copies of exhibits within 10 days of being awarded a license by the Commission.
AMCC Chairman Rex Vaughn said he and the rest of the commission felt the new revisions were promising.
“We believe that the actions taken today will strengthen the existing rules and process implemented by the Commission,” Vaugh said. “There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to satisfy all parties, but we feel that the Court will see these changes as reasonable and responsible. We hope that everyone will agree to let this process continue in the shared goal of delivering medical cannabis products to patients who so desperately need it.”
The AMCC also revised some rules including clarifying the investigative hearing process, eliminating the fee for requesting an investigating hearing and addressing matters pertaining to the post-award process.
The AMCC voted to halt the licensing process in August to help prevent further legal challenges. The goal for the commission is to resume awarding licenses by the end of the year. However, that is likely dependent upon the decision of a judge.
Next week the commission will be in court for a hearing addressing the Open Meetings Act violation they are accused of committing. The next meeting by the commission will be on Oct. 26, when Vaughn hopes to begin the new process and get licenses awarded and products to consumers soon. But again, this is contingent upon what happens during the hearing.
“When considering these amended procedures, it was important that this process move forward as swiftly as possible,” AMCC Vice Chairman Dr. Sam Blakemore said. “Patients have waited far too long, and any efforts to obstruct our progress is only delaying access to patients.”