Another round of licenses awarded by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has led to yet another lawsuit against the commission’s procedures.
The AMCC began hearing from applicants for the lower tier licenses last week as part of new procedures born out of protracted litigation from its last two attempts to award licenses.
When they voted to award processor licenses, Enchanted Green LLC. missed the cut despite being awarded a license in the previous two rounds.
While Enchanted Green had placed second in previous rounds of the ”scoring,” the commission decided in this round that the company had tied for fourth—with only four licenses available by statute.
This led the commission to draw an applicant’s name out of a bowl to decide who would be considered first.
“A staff member of the AMCC reached under the dais and pulled out a bowl. The staff member then held out the bowl to one of the AMCC commissioners, and the commissioner peered (looked) into the bowl and pulled out a piece of paper,” the company wrote in a motion for a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief Monday. “The commissioner did not appear to unfold the piece of paper. The commissioner then read from the paper the name of the other processor group that tied for fourth place. There was no evidence that both names … were actually in the bowl prior to the ‘drawing,’ that the pieces of paper were folded so the commissioner could not see which one he was picking (or the name on it), that the papers (if there were in fact two pieces of paper) were of the same size and weight, or that other paraments of a fair drawing were followed.”
Enchanted Green argued further that there was clear confusion among commission members about the tiebreaker process, but moved ahead with the process anyway.
The complaint also questions whether the thousand-page applications submitted were even considered, arguing that commissioners appeared to be basing votes primarily on presentations made by the companies over the week.
“During each license award vote, the commissioners discussed the awardees and rationale for the award,” the complaint states. “Although applicants submitted thousand-page applications it was unclear that the AMCC commissioners evaluated the applications after the ‘scores’ were barred from consideration. The applications were not mentioned by the commissioners as part of their decisions rather the commissioners identified the presentations as the rational for their awards.”
After the commission awarded a license to Enchanted Green for the second time, the complaint states that the company paid the $40,000 licensing fee and now has no license to show for it.
“The Commission is awarding enormously valuable licenses and is doing so in a way that openly and egregiously violated Plaintiff’s due process rights,” Enchanted Green said in its complaint.
The litigation could spell disaster for the commission, which has been working to get out from under the shadow of litigation for months. The commission faces a much larger test next week as it is set to award licenses for integrated facilities, the major source of contention with 28 applicants vying for just five licenses.