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“I think discovery would be helpful…based on what’s been pleaded.”
By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector
A Montgomery County Circuit Judge Wednesday ordered five Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) members and director John McMillan to provide testimony on the licensing process.
Judge James Anderson also granted a motion allowing plaintiffs to submit written questions and ask for documents prior to the hearing on whether the commission followed the law and its own rules in each round of license awards.
“I think discovery would be helpful…based on what’s been pleaded,” Anderson said.
The judge allowed seven hours per live testimony. Depending on the scope of written questions, the judge may postpone the hearing past February, which is currently set for the 28.
The commission dropped its initial opposition to testimony and written depositions. Attorneys said they could agree to one depending on the scope of questions the judge would allow. Lawyers for the commission said that it would be inappropriate to discuss an ongoing process.
“Because those inspections may have revealed some licenses were improperly issued, and at the end of the investigative hearing, a final decision by the commission, which the commission will then make the final award,” said Mike Jackson, counsel for the AMCC.
Plaintiffs argued that they wouldn’t be able to properly present their case at the investigative hearing without knowing more details about the commission ranked applications, which determined the order in which the AMCC voted on licenses.
The judge did not provide a limit on what can be asked, but the commission can dispute the question to the judge at the time of hearing.
The Legislature approved a medical cannabis program for Alabama in 2021, but the bill authorizing the program did not allow licenses to be issued until September 1, 2022. The AMCC began accepting applications later that year.
When the product becomes available, patients certified by participating physicians will be able to use medical cannabis for 15 conditions, including cancer, chronic pain, depression and Parkinson’s Disease.
Patients will have to apply for a card to obtain medical cannabis from licensed dispensers, which include tablets, capsules, gelatins, oils, gels, creams, suppositories, transdermal patches, or inhalable oils or liquids. Cannabis gummies will only be allowed to be peach-flavored.