Will the third time be the charm in Alabama?
The state’s medical marijuana regulator on Thursday pledged to issue the first MMJ business licenses by the end of 2023.
That would be some relief to marijuana entrepreneurs, which this summer watched the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) twice award and then retract business permits amid lawsuits and allegations of impropriety.
In the meantime, legal medical marijuana remains unavailable in Alabama, more than two years after state lawmakers legalized access to the drug.
After the two false starts, the AMCC at its Thursday meeting unveiled a third method for awarding business licenses.
The method, codified in an emergency rule, “kind of is a reset” for the entire process, commission Chair Rex Vaughn told the Associated Press.
Companies will make fresh presentations to the AMCC, which may also weigh scored applications from the previous two scotched rounds.
The state then awarded 24 different licenses in August – 19 went to June recipients – only to reverse themselves again and scratch those licenses after spurned applicants filed lawsuits.
A state judge tossed a lawsuit filed by Chicago-based multistate operator Verano Holdings Corp., but one lawsuit is still pending.
Vaughn said the litigation will affect the timing of the third attempt at issuing licenses.
According to the AP, the commission hopes to “have addressed concerns and awards can be made by the end of the year.”