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Litigation from companies who didn’t receive a license in the latest round of awards against the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) is being used to slow down the implementation of Alabama’s medical cannabis law passed three years ago, according to AMCC director John McMillan.

Some legislators in the just-completed session were critical of how long it’s taking for the law to be implemented. Multiple bills that would’ve stripped powers away from the AMCC or increased the amount of cannabis licenses companies could seek never garnered enough support to become law. State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) even floated the possibility of repealing the law due to the medical cannabis program so far only being an added expense without any revenue being generated.

AMCC is currently being sued by companies who’ve never received a license in the multiple rounds of license awards and companies who received licenses in previous rounds but didn’t in the latest round in December. Montgomery County Circuit Judge James Anderson still has AMCC staff and commissioners under a temporary restraining order until litigation is resolved.

McMillan appeared on Friday’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal” and was asked about a timeline for when the law would be implemented and patients could begin receiving medical cannabis. 

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“I’m sorry to say, as you stated, I just don’t know. I continue to be hopeful. I’ve lost a lot of optimism. I tend to be hopeful that within a matter of months we’ll have some resolution in the courts and be able to go ahead and stand up the dispensaries and integrators and let them join the other licensees that have already been issued and get this program going. It has a lot to offer,” McMillan said.

McMillan said litigation was being used by companies who didn’t receive licenses to delay the program from being implemented. 

“Well, nobody is more frustrated than our commission and our staff and certainly I am, because frankly, in my opinion, most of these lawsuits are frivolous, but they have been used as a delaying tactic,” McMillan said. “I hope to some extent and believe that a lot of the litigation came from the fact that, ‘Well, let’s just block everything. Let’s just keep the commission from being able to do anything. Let’s just shut this program down through the courts and try to get something settled in the legislature.’ Just stop anything from happening until I try to get something through the legislature. That didn’t happen, so, and again, might be back to my hopeful thinking that maybe some of that will diminish now that the legislature chose not to get involved in any changes in the program.”

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.

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