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In the wake of continued delays to the state cannabis commission’s licensing process, the Alabama Cannabis Coalition asks Kay Ivey to call a special session.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Following months of delays in licensing, re-licensing, and lawsuits connected to the process of licensing medical marijuana businesses in the state of Alabama, one group of lobbyists is asking Governor Kay Ivey to step in.

The Alabama Cannabis Coalition, in a “Call to Action,” asks citizens to email or call the Governor’s office, saying that “a simple amendment to this legislation by the Alabama Legislature would solve most of these lawsuits.”

A new set of licensees to grow, distribute, and/or sell certain strains of medicinal cannabis products was awarded in August by the state-created Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, after the original 21 awards were rescinded following “scoring discrepancies.” At least two companies who were not chosen in the first round of licenses later filed suit, alleging a “flawed and secretive process” in selecting the winners.

An administrative stay was placed on the second set of awards on September 1, once again pausing the licensure process in what the commission said was an “attempt to avoid additional legal challenges.”

Further, Dr. Steven Stokes, a radiation oncologist from Dothan, stepped down from the chair of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission after a lawsuit challenged his eligibility to hold the office. He was replaced by Rex Vaughn.

The ACC’s suggestion to Gov. Ivey is to open up a free-market medical marijuana structure for the state. Ivey could potentially do this by calling a special session to amend the current language of Senate Bill 46 which laid the foundation for creating the state medical cannabis commission and the current process.

“There is no doubt there will be more lawsuits,” wrote ACC founder and president H Marty Schelper. “All of this could simply be resolved by admitting a mistake was made and amending SB46.”

If no such special session is called, Schelper said, the only remaining opportunity to change the bill’s language and the market type in Alabama, would be in the 2024 legislative session, which would begin in February.

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