Just when the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) had settled outstanding legal issues and awarded licenses, one of the denied applicants, Alabama Always LLC, filed a new motion Tuesday for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against the commission.

In the filing in Montgomery County Circuit Court, Alabama Always requested the actions of the commission on August 10 be stayed, including the licenses awarded, for "likely violations of the Open Meetings Act by the Commission.”

“A primary motivation for Alabama Always’s filing of this lawsuit is the Commission’s penchant for conducting its business in secret, engaging in, among other things, repeated violations of the OMA,” William Somerville said in the filing. “It is painfully clear now that the Commission continues to believe that it can conduct its business in private and observe the OMA only by violating it. Despite the Commission’s assurances on August 7 that it would abide by the OMA, on August 10 the Commission retreated into executive session, only to emerge three and a half hours later and ratify a slate of applicants that it had voted on during executive session. In addition to illegally voting, the Commission engaged in other violations of the OMA including, at a minimum, engaging in illegal voting, holding illegal deliberations, and utilizing improper parliamentary procedures, all during executive session.”

The commission met in executive session for three to four hours during a meeting on Thursday.  After commissioners concluded the executive session and resumed the public meeting, commissioners began voting on which companies would receive licenses.

AMCC staff and commission members have repeatedly said in court and at their August 10 meeting that their use of executive session complies with the Open Meetings Act.

An AMCC spokeswoman told 1819 News they were aware of the filing but unable to provide any further comment on pending litigation.

According to their filing, Alabama Always requests the court issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent the licenses awarded during the August 10 meeting of the Commission from being issued, as well as to stay the licensure process generally, including the deadlines for filing appeals and requests for investigative hearings under the Commission’s regulations. In addition, Alabama Always asks the Court to permit it to engage in expedited discovery, including depositions and written discovery to determine what happened during the executive session of the August 10 meeting.

The AMCC initially awarded 21 licenses in June. Shortly after the licenses were announced, the commission put a stay on proceedings due to discoveries by commission staff of "potential inconsistencies in the tabulation of scoring data." Licenses awarded on Thursday were generally to the same companies that got licenses in June with a few exceptions.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.

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