Alabama Medical Marijuana Firm Challenges Use of Old Scores in License Awards

Medical Marijuana Firm: Navigating Alabama’s Cannabis Controversy

Hey there, fellow enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving deep into the tangled web of Alabama’s medical marijuana landscape. You’ve probably heard the buzz about Specialty Medical Products, a Wetumpka-based medical cannabis that’s been locked in a fierce battle with Alabama’s authorities. They’re on a mission to prevent the from using old scores to award those coveted licenses.

Alabama’s Cannabis Conundrum

So, what’s the deal with Specialty Medical Products and their quest to block regulators from using those pesky old scores? Well, let’s break it down.

You see, Alabama has been taking its time navigating the murky waters of medical cannabis . Specialty Medical Products applied for a license to operate an integrated facility, but the process, oh boy, it’s been a rollercoaster ride.

The Mystery of the Unseen Criteria

One of the key arguments put forth by Specialty Medical Products is that the criteria used for evaluation are shrouded in mystery. Applicants like them were left in the dark, unsure of what criteria they’d be judged on. It’s like trying to hit a bullseye in the dark, blindfolded, and with your hands tied behind your back.

“The application guide doesn’t lay out the ‘minimum criteria’ for each exhibit,” they argued. “More importantly, it fails to tell us what criteria are necessary to ‘exceed’ or ‘thoroughly address’ that minimum criteria.”

Imagine playing a game with ever-changing rules, and you don’t even know what the rules are. That’s what these folks have been dealing with.

The Mysterious Scores from the University of South Alabama (USA)

Now, here’s where things get even murkier. The University of South Alabama (USA) stepped in with their team of evaluators to review the initial license applications. Sounds fair, right? Well, not quite.

After the first round of licenses were awarded, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) hit the brakes. They discovered some “inconsistencies” in the scoring process that could have led to “catastrophic” results if they went ahead.

Imagine ordering a pizza and getting a salad instead. That’s how catastrophic it could have been.

The Legal Battle Unfolds

Specialty Medical Products, along with another company called Alabama Always, decided to take this matter to court. They wanted to know if the commission should have imposed a temporary restraining order. This order would have prevented the commission from using rules that weren’t properly adopted according to the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.

“The commission should be barred from using the scores,” they argued, “as the scoring system appears designed to award licenses to applicants who simply cannot cultivate cannabis in 60 days, as the statute mandates.”

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The statute signed into law in 2021 states that cultivators and integrated facilities must “demonstrate the ability to commence cultivation of cannabis within 60 days of application notification.”

Changing the Rules of the Game

But what does “demonstrate” even mean in this context? According to Specialty Medical Products, the application simply asked if companies could commence cultivation within 60 days, with a straightforward “yes” or “no” answer. No fancy demonstrations required.

“Dispensing with the scores is the best way to make sure in Alabama who can benefit from medical cannabis get the help they so desperately need,” they argued.

A Fresh Start

Fast forward to October, and the AMCC decided to hit the reset button on the medical cannabis licensing process. All 90 applicants were back in the running for a license. They wiped the slate clean, rescinding all previously awarded licenses and denials from an August 10 .

The new procedures allow commissioners to consider the previous scores when making their decisions. Chairman Rex Vaughn emphasized that commissioners had full discretion “when evaluating the suitability of all 90 applicants.” It’s like giving everyone a second chance in the game of musical chairs.

The Path Forward

Now, as we look ahead, presentations are scheduled to take place between November 27 and December 8. It’s a chance for applicants to shine, contest any deficiencies in their application, and respond to preliminary pass/fail decisions. The presentations will be open to the public, and applicants can even submit additional application material that couldn’t be filed earlier due to file size limitations.

Brittany Peters, spokesperson for the commission, assures us that the show will go on as planned.

In Conclusion

So, there you have it, folks. The tangled web of Alabama’s medical marijuana licensing saga continues. Specialty Medical Products and Alabama Always are standing up for what they believe is a fair and transparent process. They’re asking for clarity in a system that, until now, has been as clear as mud.

Thanks to Alander Rocha at the Alabama Reflector for reporting on this ongoing legal battle. As we wait for the dust to settle, one thing’s for sure – the world of medical marijuana in Alabama is anything but a smooth ride. Stay tuned for more updates on this cannabis controversy.

Rosemary Puffman
I'm Rosemary, a staunch supporter of cannabis legalization and its potential benefits. My roles as a writer, cannabis entrepreneur, and informed investor allow me to contribute to the evolving narrative around cannabis. Through my writing, I aim to destigmatize and educate, while my business ventures and strategic investments align with my belief in the positive impact of responsible cannabis use.

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