Alabama's Medical Marijuana Licenses On Hold Again, Now What?

The issuance of business licenses for medical cannabis in Alabama has been put on hold for the second time, reported WSFA.

What Happened

On Thursday, the members of the Alabama Cannabis Industry Association (AMCC) voted to maintain a pause on issuing business licenses that were awarded on August 10.

The move comes amid a legal hurdle the state's medical cannabis regulator is in alongside numerous companies that are suing the commission over closed-door meetings.

"We understand that litigation is an obstacle just as it has been in every other state that has a medical cannabis program," Rex Vaughn, the commission's chair said. "However, we appreciate and join in the court's commitment to seeing Alabama's program become operational sooner rather than later."

Why It Matters

With the latest development, the businesses that were awarded a license in August won't see them issued in the coming weeks. Additionally, those businesses are not required to pay the license fee.

What's Next

On Wednesday, AMCC will appear at the court that reconvenes to address the case concerning alleged Open Meetings Act violations committed by the commission and explore possible approaches for moving forward with the licensing process.


The AMCC failed to award medical cannabis licenses twice earlier this year and is now pushing to redo it for the third time.

But Montgomery Circuit Judge James Anderson, who recently initiated a temporary restraining order that halted the ongoing licensing process in response to a legal action brought by Alabama Always LLC, does not share that opinion, at least not yet.

Will Somerville, representing several businesses affected by delays, previously said the "entire process has been shrouded in secrecy."

AMCC allegedly breached Alabama's Open Meetings Act by entering into an executive session to evaluate their businesses prior to granting licenses, he said earlier.

"Nobody knows exactly what was discussed then," he said. "So we think the debate needs to be in public so everybody can know what's going on."

Verano's Lawsuit

Chicago-based Verano Holdings Corp. VRNO VRNOF was last among many affected medical cannabis businesses statewide to file a lawsuit against the commission in August.

Why? Verano Alabama, LLC, a joint venture established by Verano, secured Alabama's highly sought-after Integrated Facility License in June as part of the commission's first attempt to award cannabis licenses. It then lost its chance to get a share of the state market. In the process of redoing the license allocation in August, cannabis regulator AMCC chose Insa Alabama LLC instead.

Darren Weiss, president of Verano Holdings, is a speaker at the upcoming Benzinga event in Chicago. He'll undoubtedly have more news on the company's challenges in Alabama.

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.

Photo: Courtesy of Richard T on Unsplash

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