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Alabama medical cannabis licensing process begins

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Entities can now begin the application process for cannabis cultivator, processor, dispensary and other licenses under the state’s medical marijuana law.

Only applicants who submit a request by Oct. 17 will receive a business application form from the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. Entities will then have until Dec. 30 to file applications.

“Since the passage of the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act last year, the Commission has worked diligently to lay the groundwork for the new medical cannabis industry in Alabama by developing administrative rules and regulations and by obtaining necessary software systems,” John McMillan, commission director, said in a written statement. “We are excited to see the many components of the program come together and provide not only business and career opportunities to Alabamians, but most importantly, we are one step closer to meeting the needs of thousands of residents who suffer from various medical conditions whose symptoms may be alleviated by the proper use of medical cannabis products.”

The state law says the commission can award up to 12 cultivator licenses, four processor licenses, four dispensary licenses, five integrated facility licenses and an unspecified number of secure transport and state testing laboratory licenses. The law also set licensee fees at no less than $10,000 and no more than $50,000, depending on the category of license.

It allows people with qualifying medical conditions to purchase medical marijuana with the recommendation of a doctor. Conditions include cancer, a terminal illness, depression, epilepsy, panic disorder and chronic pain. Allowable forms of marijuana include pills, skin patches and creams but not smoking, vaping or edible products.

Products are expected to be available to those who qualify sometime next year.

“Throughout the development of the program, the commission’s focus has been to ensure that future patients receive high quality, safe and affordable products. That focus will continue as we begin to evaluate medical cannabis business applicants,” commission chairman and oncologist Dr. Steven Stokes said. “We hope our efforts will foster a model program, where Alabama’s medical cannabis business licensees are providing qualified patients with safe products that they can trust.”

More information on the commission and application process is available at amcc.alabama.gov.

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