MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — The Alabama Cannabis Coalition is calling on the governor and lawmakers to change the 2021 law that allows the sale of medical marijuana in the state. The rollout has been plagued with lawsuits and disagreements over who should receive a limited number of lucrative licenses.
“It’s a quagmire. And this quagmire is getting deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Marty Schelper, Alabama Cannabis Coalition founder.
The state medical cannabis commission can only issue 12 licenses for cultivators, four for processors, four for dispensaries and five licenses for integrated facilities that can grow, process and sale it.
“Unfortunately, that’s not free markets. That’s creating a medical cannabis monopoly,” said Schelper.
This week, the coalition wrote Governor Kay Ivey urging her to call a special session so lawmakers could change the law to allow more competition. Schelper says it would end the legal fights and eventually lead to lower prices for consumers.
“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. It is so simple,” said Schelper.
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is now facing multiple lawsuits from those who didn’t win a license with varying accusations about the awarding process. Last month we told you how a local company, Oscity, is suing the commission. It claims the scoring process was deeply flawed. State licenses have been put on hold for a second time now. The commission first issued licenses in June but rescinded them because of tabulation errors. The commission awarded them again on August 10th, but critics accused commissioners of violating the Open Meetings Act for going into executive session and deliberating the applicants. The commission meets again next week.
“The State of Alabama, our legislators are the ones that are going to have to correct this problem,” said Schelper.
Schelper says if you agree with that statement, call or email your state representative and senator and reach out to the governor’s office. We reached out to Ivey’s office for comment but did not hear back as of this publication.