Alabama joined the growing list of states that legalized medical marijuana in 2021. Now, a push from the Alabama Cannabis Coalition wants to change the law.
Lawsuits and disagreements have consistently plagued the new cannabis market rollout due to the limited number of cannabis licenses and disputes over rightful recipients.
“It’s a quagmire. And this quagmire is getting deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Marty Schelper, Alabama Cannabis Coalition founder.
The coalition wrote Governor Kay Ivey, calling on her to launch a special session during which lawmakers would be able to amend the law to avoid the creation of a monopoly in the market.
Currently, the state cannabis regulator is allowed to issue 12 licenses for cultivators, four for processors, four for dispensaries and five licenses for integrated facilities.
“Unfortunately, that’s not free markets,” Schelper continued. “That’s creating a medical cannabis monopoly.”
He further proposed a solution that would streamline the launch of medical cannabis operations.
“If they would open up the markets and allow anybody who wants a license and can afford a license and pass all of the residency requirements or any other requirements that the state has written into this legislation, these problems can be solved,” Schiller said.
Meanwhile, lawsuits against the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) are piling up.
The latest is from Medella LLC, a medical marijuana company that was not awarded a license in either of the two failed attempts from the state cannabis regulator to allocate them. Medella joins ongoing litigation brought by two other cannabis businesses, Alabama Always LLC and Chicago-based multi-state operator Verano Holdings Corp. VRNO VRNOF.
Both companies have been in legal spats with the commission for months as they were either left without or stripped of their license under AMCC’s faulty permit allocation process.
Verano’s president, Darren Weiss, is a speaker at the upcoming Benzinga event in Chicago, where he will undoubtedly have something to say about this issue.
The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, the place where deals get done, is returning to Chicago this Sept 27-28 for its 17th edition. Get your tickets today before prices increase and secure a spot at the epicenter of cannabis investment and branding.