State Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence) filed legislation on Tuesday that would require the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) to begin another round of integrated facility license awards for a fourth time with an altered process. 

Under existing law, AMCC may issue no more than five integrated facility licenses to eligible applicants. Integrated facilities are the most sought-after type of license from applicants because it allows a company to sell, transport, dispense, process and cultivate medical cannabis.

Alabama legislators passed a medical marijuana legalization bill in 2021. The AMCC awarded licenses three times in June, August and December 2023. However, lawsuits by unsuccessful applicants have stalled the implementation of the law.

Melson’s bill would task the Alabama Securities Commission (ASC) with determining if applicants meet “basic eligibility requirements for licensure” The second step would require the ASC review panel to determine the readiness of the cultivation and dispensing operations if a license was to be awarded. The third step would require the AMCC members to score the pool of remaining eligible applicants on a number of criteria to ultimately determine the awarding of the licenses.

“I just think it’s a good, clean way to try to get this program going. It’s just right now it is unfortunately, I hate to say it’s just a mess but it’s just a mess,” Melson told reporters on Tuesday. “This should have been established a long time ago. It should be up and running. I’m just trying to get it back on track.”

Melson said he didn’t want to increase the cap on integrated facility licenses.

“I do not want to increase it any. We set it up based on the number of potential patients in the state based on the population,” Melson said. “We don’t need that oversaturated market.”

Specialty Medical Products of Alabama CEO Ray French said Melson’s bill was “another attempt at a redo to me plain and simple.”

French’s company received an integrated facility license in December.

“This is another delay, another rehashing to try to shuffle the deck to favor some different group of people or favor somebody that didn’t get one the first time. It’s an attempt to just upend and make the commission redo everything they’ve already done,” French told 1819 News on Tuesday. 

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