Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Licensing Process to be Disputed in Court Today

Earlier this month, Alabama announced the winners of the state’s integrated medical cannabis licenses, making national headlines via their decision to award Trulieve — a publicly-traded company founded in Florida — the sole license reserved for “minority-owned” businesses. Other applicants are now suing the state, citing irregularities with the application scoring process.

Full story after the jump.

In the latest development from Alabama’s nascent medical cannabis industry, several companies including Southeast Cannabis, TheraTrue 3 Notch Root, Alabama Always, and Jemmstone are set to make their legal case against the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) today, as reported by the Alabama Political Reporter. The applicants are contesting the commission’s methods of awarding medical cannabis licenses, asserting that the AMCC’s decisions during a crucial December 12 meeting were procedurally flawed, specifically criticizing the handling of application scoring and electronic files, as well as a restrictive 10MB limit on submission portals.

Alabama Always, LLC is also seeking expedited discovery in its lawsuit against the AMCC, alleging violations of the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act and the Open Meetings Act. They argue that this discovery is essential to challenge the Commission’s rejection of their license application effectively. Concurrently, 3 Notch Roots and Jemmstone are looking to consolidate their cases with Alabama Always, as they are addressing similar grievances against the AMCC’s actions.

This series of lawsuits is indicative of growing discontent with the AMCC’s transparency and fairness, potentially setting the stage for a major legal battle. Earlier this month the AMCC made headlines with their decision to award Trulieve — a publicly-traded company out of Florida — the only license reserved for “minority-owned” businesses. Cannabis operators from Alabama and other states decried the decision, pointing out that large corporate brands should not be allowed to capitalize on licensing provisions intended to boost market diversity.

The outcomes of today’s hearings are anticipated to have far-reaching implications not only for Alabama’s medical cannabis industry but also for the national conversation around how a legalized cannabis market should function, and who should be granted opportunities to participate.

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