Montgomery, Ala] – To address some of the concerns raised by litigants, and to find an expedient path forward with the licensing process, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) revised its procedures related to pending applications at its meeting on October 12, 2023.
At the request of the Montgomery County Circuit Court, the Commission’s representatives have participated in multiple discussions with parties involved in litigation in an effort to allow the Commission to carry out its statutorily-mandated responsibilities without further delay and court intervention.
“While these discussions have not resulted in a proposed agreement, they have helped clarify the parties’ positions and identified concerns that need to be addressed for the licensing process to continue,” explained Mark Wilkerson, attorney for AMCC. “We understand that the proposed changes will not satisfy all parties, but we have considered all available options in order to resume the licensing process in an expeditious manner.”
The Commission’s newly adopted procedures retain the previous score results, while also providing applicants with an opportunity to make a presentation to the Commission regarding matters identified in their application and their score results. Applicants will also be afforded the opportunity to respond to preliminary pass/fail items identified by the Commission and submit exhibits that were not previously filed due to the file size limitation in the application portal. The procedures also narrow the scope of information that may be redacted from applications and provides a second public comment opportunity.
In addition to these new procedures, the Commission adopted several revisions to its current rules. These revisions ensure consistency of the rules and provide additional structure needed for the post-award process. These changes clarify the investigative hearing process for those applicants whose application is denied and also removes the fee associated with requesting such hearing.
“We believe that the actions taken today will strengthen the existing rules and process implemented by the Commission,” explained Commission Chairman Rex Vaughn. “There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to satisfy all parties, but we feel that the Court will see these changes as reasonable and responsible. We hope that everyone will agree to let this process continue in the shared goal of delivering medical cannabis products to patients who so desperately need it.”
The new procedures allow for appropriate document submission, applicant presentations, public comment, and the award of licenses to be completed by the end of 2023.
“When considering these amended procedures, it was important that this process move forward as swiftly as possible,” explained Vice Chairman Dr. Sam Blakemore. “Patients have waited far too long, and any efforts to obstruct our progress is only delaying access to patients.”
Given the time limitations facing the Commission, and the need to expedite the availability of medical cannabis, the Commission adopted the new procedural rules under both emergency and regular rulemaking procedures.
To view the adopted rules, visit https://amcc.alabama.gov/about/resources/.