Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning. Sign Up

For third time, Medical Cannabis Commission awards licenses

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission awarded 20 licenses on Friday to companies seeking to grow and sell medical marijuana.

Commission members hope, after unsuccessfully trying to issue licenses twice earlier this year, this is the final round of awards.

Holding its meeting at the Alabama State House, the commission awarded licenses in all but one of six categories of licenses, permitting awardees the exclusive right to either grow, process, sell, transport or test medical marijuana. 

Integrated facility licenses, the final category that allows recipients to both grow and sell medical marijuana, will be awarded on Dec. 8 following a week of presentations from applicants.

Before awarding any licenses, commission member William Saliski noted that the presentations given by applicants throughout the past week were hugely influential in informing commission members’ rankings of the applicants, rankings that would ultimately help decide which companies got licenses.

“I have to say that some of the top people that are on this list had some of the most sensational presentations, and I’m so encouraged by their readiness …” Saliski said. “I think they could probably start growing plants tomorrow if we asked them.”

A number of commission members spoke out to agree, including Dwight Gamble.

“We have applicants that could start growing cannabis I believe in a week once they’re issued a license… I was very impressed,” Gamble said.

Members of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission are handed scoring sheets to rank applicants.

The following 20 companies were awarded licenses:

*Company names with an * indicate a new company awarded a license when compared to the commission’s most recent attempt to award licenses

Cultivator License

Processor License

Dispensary License

Secure Transport License

State Testing Laboratory License

The commission first announced licenses in June, but stopped short of actually issuing them after flaws in the scoring data were discovered. Over the next several months, a flurry of lawsuits were filed against the commission from various applicants, all largely alleging the selection process to be unfair.

After the adoption of a new set of rules, which included affording applicants the opportunity to give presentations to the commission, as well as the tossing out of the previous scoring data, commission members hope this third round of license awards will be the last.

When it came time for members to award a testing laboratory license, Saliski noted that the single qualified applicant – Certus Laboratories – could prove problematic in the state’s rollout of medical marijuana, and should be addressed by the commission soon. Laboratory licensees will do the required testing on cannabis products prior to their sale.

“I hope whoever’s listening who has anything to do with labs out there will come to us because I don’t think one lab is going to cut it here,” he said. “It may be the choke point for this product.”

Commission Chair Rex Vaughn agreed, and after the meeting told Alabama Daily News that the AMCC would need to address that shortage of applicants in the near future.

“We need another lab at least for the purpose of testing the products that are out there, and also to avoid the potential bottleneck of all the products that come into one laboratory,” he said.

Companies awarded a license Friday will have until Dec. 15 to submit their application fee to the commission, and will undergo an investigative process including on-site inspections before being issued the licenses. Licenses are expected to actually be issued around late December, officially kicking off Alabama’s rollout of medical marijuana.

Lawmakers in 2021 approved the use of limited marijuana products, including gummies, oils and patches, to treat specific illnesses. Users will need approval from their physicians before buying the products.

Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Web Development By Infomedia