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Opinion | AMCC: A cloak of obstruction and legal maneuvering

The cold reality is that highly paid lawyers are using legal trickery to delay, deny, and deflect, while real people with real needs suffer.

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The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals recently handed down two rulings in favor of a medical cannabis applicant, Alabama Always LLC. These decisions clear the way for the next steps in the company’s quest to compel the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to adhere to the law established by the Legislature. Despite the court’s clear directive, the AMCC has chosen the path of further obfuscation and delay.

The court denied the AMCC’s petition for a writ of mandamus, stating the commission “has not met its burden of proving that it lacks an adequate remedy by way of a post-judgment appeal,” and highlighted that the AMCC raised issues not yet adjudicated by the circuit court. This ruling should have allowed the plaintiffs to proceed with depositions, and review emails, text messages, and other documents relevant to the AMCC’s internal operations.

However, rather than complying with the court’s ruling, the AMCC, in a brazen move, filed several motions mere hours after the Court of Appeals’ decision to further delay judicial review. This tactic is transparently aimed at preventing depositions and discovery from taking place.

For over a year, medical cannabis applicants have been ensnared in a legal quagmire, pleading with the judiciary to enforce the statute approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey. Instead of adhering to the law, AMCC’s attorneys have relentlessly sought to shield the commission from accountability. This begs the question: What misdeed is being camouflaged and why is the state expending millions in taxpayer funds to maintain this veil of secrecy?

In a particularly unusual legal maneuver, the AMCC has now petitioned for a third writ of mandamus against Montgomery Circuit Court Judge James Anderson. Known among his peers as a fair, intelligent, and patient judge, Anderson’s competence is now being questioned by the AMCC. The AMCC lawyer’s actions appear to not only undermine his rulings but also cast doubt on his judicial capability.

The AMCC’s latest filing requests that the court stay all proceedings until the resolution of its pending petitions for a writ of mandamus. This includes those related to expedited discovery orders, temporary restraining orders, and the court’s denial of motions to dismiss based on subject matter jurisdiction. This strategic retreat to higher judicial ground is a desperate attempt to obtain a favorable ruling that could invalidate the lower court’s decisions. Such a maneuver would effectively reset the legal battlefield and keep the public in the dark about the AMCC’s refusal to comply with the law.

The crux of the matter is now unmistakable: What is the AMCC hiding? Their relentless pursuit of legal delays and obfuscation strongly suggests there are truths they wish to conceal. The public deserves transparency and accountability from a commission that was established to oversee the implementation of a law designed to benefit the people of Alabama in need of medical cannabis. Instead, the AMCC has shown a pattern of evasive tactics and judicial maneuvering aimed at keeping critical information out of the public domain. It is time for the AMCC to stop hiding behind legal smoke and mirrors and start fulfilling its mandate as laid out by the Legislature.  Yet, the cold reality is that highly paid lawyers are using legal trickery to delay, deny, and deflect, while real people with real needs suffer as a medication that could offer comfort and relief is withheld due to the AMCC’s mistakes. It’s time to put an end to this selfish madness.

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Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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