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Marijuana licensee selections Monday; stay requests pending

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission on Monday will select and announce the companies likely to produce and distribute marijuana products under a 2021 law, though one would-be applicant asked two courts this week to delay the selections.

Redbud Remedies was one of three companies that earlier this year filed lawsuits alleging file-size limitations on the commission’s online application portal led to the rejection of their documents.

Montgomery Circuit Judge James Anderson in April sided with Med Shop Dispensary and Thera True Alabama and ordered their applications considered. But it rejected Redbud’s claim.

Redbud in May appealed to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. On Wednesday, it asked that court for an emergency stay in the selection of dispensary licenses.

Earlier in the week, it also filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court a motion for injunction pending appeal.

John McMillan, executive director of the AMCC, on Thursday said he can’t comment on the specifics of the Redbud lawsuit or request for a stay, but unless there’s court action, the commission plans to proceed Monday.

“Surely we’ll know something by (today),” he said of a potential response to Redbud. “Unless some judicial decision prevents it, we’re going to start at 9 a.m. Monday and hopefully by that afternoon be ready to release the names.” 

The commission may award up to 12 cultivator licenses, four processor licenses, four dispensary licenses and five integrated facility licenses. The law did not specify how many secure transport and state testing laboratory licenses can be awarded.

Redbud is a minority owned company seeking one of those four dispensary licenses.

The commission in April voted to formally accept 90 applications. Company names are listed here

In its request to both courts, Redbud said 17 applicants that also had size limitation issues were allowed to file some application documents online by the year-end deadline and deliver others to the commission in January.

“This workaround is the exact same solution requested by Redbud and other applicants the first week of January that was denied,” Redbud’s filing said. “Despite communicating other changes to application requirements during the initial offering period to all prospective applicants, the AMCC did not publish the availability of this workaround solution or inform all prospective applicants about it.”

RedBud also alleges the 10-megabyte limit is an invalid rule under the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.

Monday will not be the final step for selected companies. Licenses will be awarded in July after a period for possible challenges and licensing fees are paid, McMillan said. Annual licensing fees range from $30,000 to $50,000.

“July 10 is the day we foresee actually issuing licenses,” McMillan said. “But Monday is a very big day, that’s the day we should know (licensees).”

McMillan said by late this year or early next year, marijuana products should be available for those who qualify for them under the law. Allowable medical 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.

But more litigation is expected, judging from other states’ experience, he said.

“We’re bound to get more lawsuits,” McMillan said. “Everybody else has gotten lawsuits. So that could have a potential impact.” 


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