Legal fight continues over medical marijuana licenses in Alabama

Medical Marijuana

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY (AP) — The availability of medical marijuana remains on hold in Alabama as the legal fight continues over the process used to select companies for the lucrative licenses.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge James Anderson on Thursday rejected a request from the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to postpone a court hearing related to accusations that commissioners improperly deliberated in private before selecting the winning companies on Aug. 10. Anderson said the court hearing will go forward next week.

The commission asked for a delay to allow the commission to meet again and select new winners without going into executive session. A lawyer for the commission argued a new vote would moot any concerns about the prior meeting.

“While AMCC disagrees with said criticism and contends that its actions during the meeting of August 10 were at all times in accordance with law, it nevertheless understands that these unnecessary challenges are costing precious time for Alabama citizens who need medical cannabis,” William H. Webster, a lawyer for the commission, wrote in a court filing.

Lawyers for companies seeking the licenses told the judge they are concerned commissioners just want to “ratify” their prior decision.

Will Somerville, an attorney representing Alabama Always, which did not receive a license, said the selection process has been plagued with problems, including how companies were scored and how meetings were conducted.

“The entire process has been shrouded in secrecy. That’s not how government is supposed to work in this country,” Somerville told reporters.

Alabama lawmakers in 2021 ended years of resistance and approved the creation of a program to allow marijuana to be used for certain medical conditions. However, it is not yet available to patients because the state has to develop rules and award grower and distributor licenses.

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