Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Delays License Grants Amid Controversy, Sparks Calls for Transparency

Medical Cannabis License Grants Delayed by Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Amidst Controversy

The Medical has voted to postpone the issuance of licenses for the growth, manufacture, and production of medical cannabis. This decision comes after calls for a third-party review of the scoring used for evaluating license applications earlier this year. While some commissioners opposed the , the majority supported the need for a comprehensive assessment.

Last month, the commission granted approximately 20 licenses for medical cannabis but later decided to delay the final grants due to concerns over potential irregularities in the application scoring process. This move has led to increased scrutiny of the commission’s decision-making and has raised questions about transparency.

One of the commissioners, health care attorney Loree Skelton, voiced strong criticism of the commission’s handling of the license awarding process. Skelton expressed frustration at the lack of information provided to the commissioners, particularly regarding the criteria used to evaluate applicants and the identities of the evaluators. She emphasized the importance of transparency in serving the best interests of the people of Alabama.

The University of South Alabama was responsible for assessing the licenses, and they brought in independent evaluators to review the applications. However, the commission did not receive analysis or summaries of the evaluators’ findings, which left many commissioners, including Skelton, dissatisfied with the process.

The scores generated from the evaluations played a significant role in determining the license recipients. However, without a clear of the evaluation criteria and the methodology employed, commissioners were unable to make fully informed decisions. Skelton argued that the commission’s responsibility is to ensure transparency throughout the entire process.

Skelton expected access to the evaluations to make an independent judgment that incorporated the evaluators’ findings. However, the lack of information provided prevented her from fulfilling her duty as a commissioner. Skelton emphasized that transparency is essential to protect the integrity of the entire process and serve the people of Alabama.

The commission faced challenges after it was discovered that there were errors in the scoring tabulation following the June 12 meeting where the license recipients were announced. Instead of attempting to cover up the mistakes, the commission acknowledged the problems and took the necessary steps to address them. This led to a battle questioning the commission’s to halt the process, resulting in a stay being issued on the appeals process for denied applicants.

Another company filed a lawsuit seeking to restrain the commission’s decision to delay license awards. The court affirmed the commission’s decision, further prolonging the licensing process. To address the concerns and rectify the situation, the commission has enlisted the services of KPMG, an auditor based in Montvale, , to review the scores.

Once KPMG completes its review, the commission will reconsider the license awards, likely during a meeting scheduled for August 10. Skelton and Price proposed different motions, including having a subset of commissioners review applications for integrated facilities and meeting with applicants to reach a resolution. However, these motions did not receive enough support from other commissioners.

Applicants who were denied licenses expressed disappointment and argued that starting over from scratch would be the fairest approach. They suggested refunding the application fees and allowing all applicants to reapply. One applicant, Mike Dowd, who invested $25 million in his company’s facilities, raised concerns about the KPMG review and questioned what steps would be taken moving forward.

In conclusion, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission’s decision to delay granting medical cannabis licenses has generated controversy and calls for increased transparency. The review process, including the scoring methodology and evaluator identities, has come under scrutiny, prompting concerns about the integrity of the process. The involvement of a third-party auditor aims to address these concerns and ensure a fair evaluation of the license applications. The commission’s upcoming meeting on August 10 will provide an opportunity to reconsider the license awards and address the issues raised by applicants and commissioners alike.

Malvin Felix
I'm Malvin, a cannabis news enthusiast who finds joy in staying updated about the latest industry trends. My passion led me to become a dedicated writer, entrepreneur, and investor in the cannabis space. Through my writing, I aim to educate and spark discussions, while my entrepreneurial ventures and strategic investments reflect my commitment to driving positive change in the industry.

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