The town of Henagar will hold a public information session on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. to learn about the opportunities that the marijuana industry can bring to the town and its people.

Alabama has traditionally had among the most restrictive policies on growing, selling and consuming marijuana, which means the cultivation of marijuana in Alabama has been primarily the purview of a small criminal element.

Although Alabama passed bipartisan legislation in 2021 to legalize medical marijuana, the state government won't accept applications from medical marijuana growers until September of 2022.

Henagar is in discussions on partnering with an out-of-state company to bring up to 200 jobs to the Dekalb County town in order to legally grow and process Alabama marijuana for Alabamians with a demonstrable medical need.

Anejo Logistics has years of experience in the cannabis industry in multiple states in the cultivation, processing, and retail selling of cannabis products. Former Alabama Attorney General Troy King is representing the company. King said that representatives from the company will be in Henagar on Monday and Tuesday to meet with local leaders. Henagar is represented in the Alabama Legislature by House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) and State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro).

Some 200 jobs are a major economic development project in a town that only had 2292 residents in the 2020 Census.

There remains some skepticism about the cannabis industry’s arrival in the state.

“We will have to see what this company’s plans are in Henagar,” said Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP) Director Greg Davis. “But Alabamians should be aware that with the passage of Senate Bill 46 in 2021 the marijuana industry is coming to Alabama.”

ALCAP opposed the legislation, warning of the potential social costs that could come from wider acceptance of the marijuana industry in Alabama.

The town clerk told 1819 News that no firm decision has been made on this yet, stating, “We still might not do it.”

Senate Bill 46 requires that for a site to receive a cannabis license, it must be approved by the municipal or county government.

That is a requirement for a license to be given, but it is not a guarantee that Henager will actually be allowed to have a facility. The awarding of medical marijuana cultivation, processing, transporting and dispensing licenses is the role of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission based in Montgomery. Only a finite number of licenses are authorized by the legislation, so many communities may be left out of this process. All aspects of the industry will be tightly regulated by the commission and these limited licenses are reportedly highly sought after.

Only doctors who have special training in cannabis and its effects will be awarded a certification by the commission to recommend medical marijuana to their patients. Those patients must have a demonstrable medical need and have tried other more conventional treatments for their ailment. If a patient is granted such a recommendation, then the patient can obtain an Alabama medical marijuana card allowing them to purchase prescribed cannabis products from a licensed medical marijuana dispensary. Insurance will not cover recommended medical marijuana and there is no assistance available for persons with limited means as all costs will be borne by the patient and all sales will pay a heavy tax to the commission. There will be no smokable product sold and the THC levels will be tightly restricted for non-terminal patients. The types of edibles marketed in Alabama will be strictly limited by the commission to gummies.

The commission is expected to award the licenses in September. Certified physicians may begin recommending marijuana as early as late this year.

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