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Alabama Bill would Reboot Medical Cannabis Licensing Process

The state’s medicinal cannabis program is officially underway due to a law that was recently passed by the Alabama Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee (SACFC).

Senator Tim Melson is the lawmaker who introduced Senate Bill 46 three years ago. After Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law in May 2021, the bill became known as the Medical Cannabis Act 2021-450.

Melson most recently presented Senate Bill 306 on April 9 in an effort to advance the program following years of postponement. Regarding his legislation, Melson remarked,

"We got this done in three years." "It's time to change direction and give these patients something to help them with their illness; it's taken this long to get this to those who need it."


Alabama Daily News reports that Melson thinks a restart of the program is necessary to address a number of problems. Melson remarked, “We tried to find a way to get a product to market, but this is just another example of the old joke—you got one job, and you blew it.” “The commission only had one task, which they hadn’t completed. In my opinion, it would be ideal for this program to start again and reject each and every license application that was granted. This measure only clears the slate.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) is currently limited to issuing five “integrated facility licenses” for the production, distribution, and cultivation of medicinal cannabis. The Birmingham News reports that over 30 businesses have filed for a license.

The approval of licenses would follow a three-step procedure if SB-306 is approved. Initially, the Alabama Securities Commission will select a five-member panel to determine an applicant’s eligibility for a license. This covers fundamental data like evidence of money, background checks, and confirmation of residency.

The applicant must be able to dispense cannabis products to five locations within six months of obtaining a license, and the review panel will then decide if the application can begin growing and dispensing activities within 60 days of earning a license. Cannabis cannot be cultivated outdoors or directly in the ground; instead, it must be produced “using artificial light exclusively or as a supplement to natural sunlight.” extra requirements, such as security detail and a plan for the construction.

Finally, scores will be provided by the AMCC to determine which candidates are best qualified to receive a license.

Furthermore, under SB-306, only those who filed for an integrated license before December 2022 would be qualified.

The AMCC has only granted three licenses in the last ten months. Procedural issues and continuing litigation that have blocked licenses from being given are also to blame for this.

Even still, Melson’s measure isn’t supported by all cannabis industry owners. SB-306 is a setback, according to Specialty Medical Products CEO Ray French, who spoke with The Birmingham News. French stated,

"The commission selected the candidates they believed would be most effective in moving this process forward after taking the time to get to know the candidates, vet them, see them, and understand who they are."


The commission based its decision on all of the material provided to it.

French’s firm applied in June and August of 2023 but was not granted a license during the first two rounds of license awards. However, in December of the same year, the license was awarded. However, because license approval has been halted by the current lawsuits, none of the selected candidates have actually been granted a license. “They selected the candidates they believed to be the most qualified,” French added. Furthermore, it would be a step back to start anew and give the commission members no influence over who gets chosen for whatever reason. It is a needless restart and a setback that will cause the program to be delayed to the point where it might never launch.

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