Alabama Cannabis Regulators Plan to ‘Start Back at Square One’ in Licensing Process

Alabama cannabis regulators said they will “start back at square one” in the medical cannabis licensing process after a lawsuit claimed the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission had violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.

Full story after the jump.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) intends to “start back at square one” in the medical cannabis licensing process, the agency told a judge on Monday, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. The comments came during a hearing in court where the agency was defending a lawsuit claiming it had violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.  

During the hearing, the AMCC and plaintiffs in the case agreed to extend a temporary restraining order prohibiting the commission from moving forward with its licensure process until September 6, while preserving appeal deadlines for applicants. Mark Wilkerson, AMCC’s lead counsel in the suit, told Montgomery Circuit Judge James Anderson that the commission intends to reissue its own administrative stay at its August 31 meeting and then start the licensing process over again.

Wilkerson said that when the licenses are awarded the AMCC intends to complete the process in an open meeting – the commission’s last two attempts to issue licenses was done largely in executive session. The commission’s last vote had included secret ballots used to nominate applicants in executive session, which triggered the lawsuit. 

Medical cannabis company Alabama Always subsequently made a new filing following the hearing, saying the AMCC’s process was “unsalvageable.” In that filing, the plaintiffs contend that the system the AMCC has created for awarding licenses violates the contested case provisions of the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act and that the commission has failed to adopt rules and procedures for administration of its licensure program. 

The court did not rule on the new filing. 

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