Medical Cannabis Commission announces new procedures
Published 5:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2023
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) announced new procedures for awarding licenses to company’s hopeful to provide medical marijuana in an Oct. 26 media release . The commission rescinded its previous awards and denials to carry out the new procedures adopted by the commission on Oct. 12.
Chris Weaver, Operational Manager of The Wemp Company, a hemp growing operation in Orville, said he hopes the new procedures mean a more effective, streamlined process is on the horizon in Alabama.
“We actually ended up not applying for a license,” Weaver said. “The deadline was Dec. 31 and it was [already] the middle of December. We were getting our bond ….it takes like four to six weeks for the underwriting, for the insurance company to do all their investigating. We wouldn’t have been able to get it completed until the second week of January. Our understanding was that this was a pass/fail item so if you didn’t have this when you submitted your application, you would’ve not gone to the next round. Now, they’ve disregarded those deadlines so we probably could have applied.”
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Chairman Rex Vaughn explained that the commission’s actions will lay a foundation for awarding licenses.
“[Recent steps will] pave a path for us to award business licenses by the end of the year,” Vaughn said. “We have an aggressive timeline in front of us, but we feel that it is of the utmost importance that we get this industry started in an expeditious manner for both the applicants and the patients.”
Previous applications were reviewed and scored in three phases with each being scored by either the commission or independent consultants. Application questions and requirements vary and are dependent on which license is being applied for. New procedures are designed to retain previous score results but will also provide applicants with an opportunity to make a presentation to the commission regarding their results or issues identified in their application.
On October 27, the commission began accepting comments from the public, either in favor of or in opposition to granting licenses to specific applicants. Comments may be submitted electronically through the AMCC website at www.amcc.alabama.gov by Nov. 26.
The commission retained the University of South Alabama to help coordinate the application review process and recruit evaluators to assess the scored exhibit items for all applicants.
The commission is scheduled to award up to 12 cultivator licenses, four processor licenses, four dispensary licenses, five integrated facility licenses statewide as well as an unspecified number of secure transport and state testing laboratory licenses.
The Alabama program will allow registered certifying physicians to recommend medical cannabis for patients diagnosed with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, cancer related pain or nausea, Crohn’s Disease, depression, Epilepsy, panic disorder, PTSD, Multiple Sclerosis, or terminal illnesses or conditions causing chronic pain. Physicians may recommend medical cannabis products capsules, tablets, tinctures, gels oils, creams and patches, but the recommendation of products administered by smoking or vaping as well as food products such as candies or cookies is prohibited.
In the meantime, Weaver said his company will continue to work on their quality hemp products, such as CBD and new uses for hemp fiber. He also indicated the company may apply for a license again next year.