“I know we’re all concerned about it, but it would have been just a catastrophe if the applicants went through their numbers and found an error.”
By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) Friday voted to delay the issuing of state licenses for medical cannabis businesses, citing possible irregularities in the scoring of applicants.
Members of the AMCC said they wanted an independent review of all scoring data to ensure the credibility of the process and the fairness of the outcome. AMCC did not say if it had evidence of wrongdoing in the process.
“I know we’re all concerned about it, but it would have been just a catastrophe if the applicants went through their numbers and found an error,” said John McMillan, director of the commission.
The vote came a few days after the commission awarded 21 licenses to grow, process, distribute, transport and test medical cannabis. Several companies that did not receive licenses said at the time that they were not clear on why some firms prevailed over others.
Applicants who were awarded a license on June 12 will no longer need to meet the original deadline to pay their licensing fee by June 26. The new deadline will be determined once the stay is lifted.
Similarly, those applicants who were not awarded a license on June 12 will now have additional time to submit a request for an investigative hearing, initially due on June 26. The rescheduled date will also be announced after the stay is lifted.
Licenses due to be issued on July 10 will now be delayed until the investigation into the scoring irregularities has been completed.
The commission Friday did not say how long the stay would last. Members said the process would resumed as soon as the independent review has been conducted and any issues have been addressed.
“This stay will remain in effect until it is lifted by the Commission. Once the stay is lifted, the Commission will reconsider the award of licenses and provide an updated timeline for all the affected processes” McMillan said.
The decision to suspend the process aims to preserve the integrity of the state’s medical cannabis program, he said.
“Every state has had a part of a medical marijuana program as their problem. We’re no different. We’re just going to have to work through it,” McMillan said.
Liberty Duke, one of the board members of Hornet Medicinals, which applied for but did not receive a license, said that she was pleased that the commission is taking steps to ensure the licensing process fair to all applicants.
“I’m glad to see the commission erring on the side of caution as they make such important in monumental decisions with this new industry for Alabama,” Duke said.