Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission puts licenses on hold amid pending lawsuits

WAFF 48's Romario Gardner reporting
Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 11:15 PM CDT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - Many business owners denied an opportunity to grow medical marijuana in Alabama, believe they’ve been burned.

This is why the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is reevaluating its business license process after finding inconsistencies in scores and following pending lawsuits.

The lawsuit alleges that the commission failed to exercise independent judgment in choosing which companies were most qualified and failed to even do site visits.

Joey Robertson’s company Wagon Trail MedServ was denied a license to cultivate and sell medical marijuana last month.

“I’m hoping that the AMCC uses this time to reevaluate the scores,” said Robertson, “I applaud them for going back and taking another look at it. Because walking out of the room that day we didn’t feel like we had been beaten. We felt like something may have happened that caused us not to get a license.”

Roberton said his team began work on obtaining a license back in 2019 and feels their hard work was overlooked.

“It’s difficult for us to see companies that are out of state to come in and, and put down on a piece of paper, essentially what they’re planning to do high in the sky.”

In response to the uproar, the commission hired an accounting firm to reevaluate license applications.

Southeast Cannabis Company was awarded a business license. CEO Chuck Smith believes the commission got it right the first time.

“The biggest disappointment that I have right now is that the whole narrative is that the commission has done something wrong or their process wasn’t good,” said Smith, “Or that you know, they were hiding something. The reality is, we all knew what their process was from the beginning.”

Smith said he’s ok with waiting for what’s next but believes it’s delaying care for those most in need.

“What I fear is that you know, this program gets delayed needlessly,” said Smith, “And the patients of Alabama suffer for it.”

The next Cannabis Commission meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 10.

The commission plans to award new business licenses on August 10th after which it will tour facilities.

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