Attorneys for the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) asked a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge on Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Verano Alabama, an applicant for a medical cannabis integrated facility license.
Verano Alabama, LLC, the only company initially awarded an integrated facility license in June that didn't get a license the second time around in August, filed a lawsuit against AMCC in Montgomery County Circuit Court and asked the court to reverse the commission's decision in August to void Verano's awarded license. Verano Alabama is a venture of the multi-state cannabis company Verano Holdings.
Verano Alabama received the highest applicant scores for integrated facilities in June and August. Every other applicant with the highest score in other license categories, such as cultivator, secure transporter, dispensary, processor, and state testing lab, was awarded a license at the August meeting. The annual license fees range from $30,000 to $50,000, depending on the type.
William Webster, an attorney for AMCC, said in a motion to dismiss filing on Wednesday the commission has the “inherent power to vacate its decisions that may contain errors.”
“Verano Alabama, LLC’s Complaint challenges the authority of the Commission to have voided its award of licenses on June 12, 2023. The Commission decided to void the June 12 awards after it discovered tabulation errors in the data it received from a third party, which had formed a part of the basis for the license awards. Despite Plaintiff’s concern, the Commission, as a government agency, has the inherent power to vacate its decisions that may contain errors. Moreover, the Commission had implied authority to rescind or void prior license awards derived from its express authority to stay the licensing process and from following Robert’s Rules of Order,” Webster said in the filing.
A hearing on the motion to dismiss is scheduled for October 12 at the Montgomery County Courthouse. The lawsuit is separate from a different ongoing lawsuit over alleged Open Meetings Act violations by AMCC filed by another applicant, Alabama Always.
James Leventis, executive vice president of legal, regulatory & government affairs for Verano Alabama's parent company, Verano Holdings, told 1819 News in August, "The commission awarded licenses. They stayed that process and then they voided it and re-awarded licenses. They did that all under a very public context of 'We found all these tabulation errors. We need to fix this so that the correct applicants are being awarded licenses based on the correct scores.' Verano Alabama's score went up sixteen points and we continue to be today the top scoring applicant. Our score only improved. Our margins only improved."
"It appears to have been a trojan horse to take a second bite at the apple and award licenses based on personal preference. Unfortunately, that's what appears to have happened and we're seeking to undo that and reset this process to where it legally should have been," he added.
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