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Alabama aims to get medical marijuana program started in 2024

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Members of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission said Thursday they are aiming to get the state’s medical marijuana program underway in 2024 after a series of delays and legal disputes.

Commissioners voted 7-2 for a motion declaring they have no plans to pause license awards despite ongoing lawsuits and appeals from losing companies. Supporters said the motion is intended to convey a message that they will not delay the program any longer unless ordered to do so by a court.

“We’d like to move forward with these people, the slate of awards that we’ve had in the month of December, and just get this show on the road so the people can get their medicine,” Commissioner Sam Blakemore, a pharmacist, said during the meeting.

The commission earlier this month selected more than 20 companies to cultivate, process and sell medical marijuana in the state. Under commission rules, the licenses will be awarded after license fees are paid.

However, several companies have filed lawsuits challenging the license selection process as flawed and seeking to stop the awards. Montgomery Circuit Judge James Anderson held a hearing Thursday on the injunction request but did not issue an immediate ruling.

Twenty-six companies have also requested hearings with the commission after their license applications were rejected.

Medical marijuana remains unavailable in Alabama more than two years after lawmakers voted to legalize it in 2021. The state had to develop rules, and the selection process has been bogged down in disputes. Commissioners paused the license process several times during the ongoing dispute.

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