Companies that want to grow, process, transport, test, and sell medical marijuana products as part of what will be a new seed-to-sale industry in Alabama can begin submitting applications for licenses in the fall if the current timeline holds.
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission met today in Montgomery and updated plans for developing regulations for the program authorized by legislation that passed in 2021.
“It’s going to be sometime probably mid to late spring next year, best case, to have products available,” AMCC Executive Director John McMillan said.
The AMCC released a timeline for establishing the regulations that will govern the program. It will submit the rules to the Legislative Services Agency for publication on June 21. A 35-day public comment period begins June 30.
The AMCC will hold a public hearing on the rules July 14. Speakers will have to sign up in advance and can do that on the agency’s website starting June 30.
On August 11, the AMCC will meet again with the expectation of adopting the rules as amended after public comments. The rules will be published August 31.
Will Webster, an attorney for the AMCC, said that means companies can begin requesting applications on September 1, a target date set in the law. The rules become effective 45 days later. At that point, companies can formally apply for licenses.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Alabama is one of 37 states to legalize marijuana products for medical purposes under the bill Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law in May 2021.
The AMCC will issue licenses to up to:
- 12 cultivators
- 4 processors
- 4 dispensaries that can operate as many as three locations in separate counties
- Secure transporters
- Labs to test for potency and content
- 5 integrated companies that can cultivate, process, transport, and dispense the products.
The integrated licensees will be able to have up to five dispensaries each. That means the state could have up to 37 dispensaries.
Patients who get a recommendation from a qualified doctor will be able to obtain the products in oral tablet, capsule, tincture, gelatinous cube, gel, oil, cream, patch, suppository, nebulizer, liquid or oil for an inhaler. No raw plant material or products for smoking or eating will be allowed.
Qualifying medical conditions are autism spectrum disorder; cancer-related cachexia, nausea, vomiting, chronic pain, and weight loss; Crohn’s Disease; depression; epilepsy or conditions causing seizures; HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss; panic disorder; Parkinson’s Disease; persistent nausea; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); sickle cell anemia; spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury; a terminal illness; Tourette’s Syndrome; and conditions causing chronic or intractable pain.
The 14-member commission heard presentations today from officials with the medical marijuana programs in Ohio and Louisiana.
The Louisiana legislature first authorized the program in 2015 but products were not available until August 2019. Since that time, 48,334 patients have received a total of 369,149 prescriptions in the state. The numbers have risen sharply this year. Louisiana lawmakers revised the program to allow pharmacies to provide raw plant material and smokable products last year.