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Thursday’s virtual meeting of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission was interrupted by pornography.

AMCC Communications Director Brittany Peters said someone who had logged onto the Zoom meeting unmuted themselves and displayed the porn.

Peters said it was not displayed on the full screen but the small box for that participant.

Peters, who was running the meeting on her laptop in the AMCC’s conference room, said she noticed it and removed the person from the meeting. She said the incident, which came near the end of the meeting, lasted less than 10 seconds.

The meeting was displayed on a large screen for participants in the conference room. AMCC Executive Director John McMillan, who was in the conference room, said those in the room did not see the porn on the screen but heard what sounded like a loud gasp.

“We were concerned that somebody had a heart attack,” McMillan said.

The AMCC immediately began hearing from lawyers and others who watched the meeting on Zoom, McMillan said.

“Apparently it was pretty explicit,” he said.

Commission Chairman Rex Vaughn, who was watching the meeting on Zoom, said there were two porn interruptions during the meeting. Vaughn said the first interruption was the longer of the two and estimated it lasted about 20 seconds.

“It was triple-X,” Vaughn said. “It was pretty bad.”

Vaughn said the first disruption showed on the main display on his laptop, not just in the small box.

The main purpose of the meeting was for the AMCC’s attorneys to give an update on lawsuits by companies that are challenging the issuance of business licenses by the commission.

McMillan said he believes the incident was an effort to harass the commission, like swatting incidents that have been in the news recently, which involve calls for a bomb threat or some other fake emergency.

Vaughn said none of the commission members are other meeting participants made a comment during the meeting about what they had seen.

“Nobody said a word,” Vaughn said. He said that is good because the hacker was trying to disrupt the meeting.

The AMCC’s meetings, including its virtual meetings, are covered by the state open meetings law. So the AMCC posts the link to the Zoom meetings on its website and on the secretary of state’s Open Alabama website.

“As long as these meetings are for the public we are probably going to be somewhat vulnerable to that,” Vaughn said.

Peters said the incident has been reported but she is not aware of a way to identify the person who displayed the porn.

McMillan and Peters said the AMCC is looking at options that would prevent another disruption to a virtual meeting.

The incident was first reported by Alabama Daily News.

Updated at 12:35 p.m. with comments from AMCC Chair Rex Vaughn.

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