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Cannabis commission gets 221 initial business requests in 2 weeks

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Two weeks after opening the application process, the state has received requests from more than 200 entities wanting to be cannabis growers, processors and other operators under the new medical marijuana law.

“As of this morning, we had 221,” John McMillan, director of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, told Alabama Daily News on Tuesday. 

Businesses have until Oct. 17 to file a request for business application with the commission. They will then receive applications, which are due at the end of the year.

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 state law, approved by the Legislature and Gov. Kay Ivey, requires the commission to consider applicants’ solvency, stability, capability and experience. 

Some specific rules and requirements for applicants are still to be determined. 

The law also allows the commission to consider “moral character and reputation” and “whether an owner, director, board member, or individual with a controlling interest in the applicant has been indicted for, charged with, arrested for, or convicted of, pled guilty …or had expunged any relevant criminal offense under the laws of any jurisdiction, either felony or misdemeanor…”

“We are focusing now on the evaluation process (of applicants),” McMillan said. “ … We plan to have a recommendation from the staff at the commission at the October meeting.”

He said background checks will likely be required, but what may exclude an applicant is still to be determined.

“It will work out through the rules and regulations process,” McMillan said. 

State Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, said Tuesday the number of possible applicants in the past two weeks is especially impressive given the fees associated with the licensing process.

The Montgomery Advertiser earlier this month reported that businesses looking to get into one of six different licensing classes have to pay $2,500 to apply for a license. After that, license costs range from $30,000 to $50,000.

That evaluation process won’t start until after the first of the year, McMillan said.

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