MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) awarded five integrated facility cannabis business licenses on Tuesday.

The companies awarded licenses were Trulieve AL, Sustainable Alabama, Wagon Trail Med-Serv, Flowerwood Medical Cannabis, and Specialty Medical Products of Alabama.

“First, I thank all of the integrated facility applicants for their diligent efforts throughout this lengthy licensing process. Second, I cannot emphasize strongly enough how much I appreciate the commitment and hard work of each Commissioner as we have navigated through this phase of the program,” explained AMCC Chairman Rex Vaughn. “The result of these efforts has led to the award of licenses to entities who the Commission has determined are well-suited to serve patients through Alabama’s medical cannabis program.”

The awards on Tuesday were the third time since the summer AMCC has awarded licenses. The two previous rounds of awards were rescinded due to litigation. It’s still possible that ongoing lawsuits filed by Alabama Always and Verano Alabama could stall the implementation of the new industry. It’s also possible additional lawsuits will be filed.

“I think we have the only facility that’s ready to go, that’s ready to commence cultivation within 60 days and process quickly and get the product out quickly. We’re just going to have to evaluate what happened,” William Somerville, an attorney representing Alabama Always, told reporters after the commission meeting on Tuesday.

Specialty Medical Products of Alabama CEO Ray French told reporters after the commission meeting on Tuesday, “We’re looking forward to helping build an industry here in Alabama.”

“We’re so proud on behalf of the commission taking the time to actually know the applicants and really consider this,” French said. 

Companies that had been awarded licenses in June and August and then had those licenses rescinded who weren’t awarded licenses on Tuesday included Insa Alabama, TheraTrue Alabama, Southeast Cannabis Company, and Verano Alabama. 

By law, one of the awarded integrated facility licenses had to be a company with 51% minority ownership. The highest-ranking minority applicant was Southeast Cannabis, but a vote to award them a license narrowly failed. The commission then voted to award Trulieve AL, the only minority license. Jemmstone Alabama, the fourth-ranked company, was also passed over due to lack of a motion for a vote. A motion to award Alabama Always a license also died for lack of a second.  

Joey Robertson, president and CEO of Wagon Trail Med-Serv, told 1819 News, “I do believe that the biggest difference was them being able to interview us and put a face to a name and know who the applicants really were and what they brought to it.”

“It’s validation for all the hard work that our team has put in," Robertson said. "We’ve had faith in this process from the beginning and the commissioners to get it right and knowing today that they finally after seeing the interviews and everything, the hard work that people have put in, they saw the true value in a lot of the applicants today."

Following this award of licenses, the procedural timelines associated with the post-award licensing process will begin along with the pre-issuance site inspections. Those applicants who were awarded a license will have 14 days to submit the appropriate license fee. Also, any applicant who has been denied a license has 14 days to request an investigative hearing before the Commission for reconsideration of said denial.

Integrated facilities are allowed to cultivate, process, dispense, transport and sell medical cannabis.

AMCC also awarded cultivator, processor, secure transporter, state testing laboratories and dispensary licenses on December 2. 

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