Alabama Cannabis Regulators to Meet with Failed Applicants in Apparent Negotiation

The commission is considering a third attempt at issuing licenses for the new cannabis market.

Alabama cannabis regulators are set to negotiate with several would-be medical marijuana companies that have filed suit against state officials, in an apparent attempt to reach a settlement deal. The companies are challenging the haphazard licensing process that has yet to reach any resolution, even after two rounds of permitting.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission will meet with representatives of Always Alabama on Sept. 11, according to the Alabama Reflector, but what exactly is expected to come of the negotiations remains murky. The underlying objective appears to be to avoid lengthy litigation over the licensing process, an attorney for Always Alabama told the Reflector.

“Everybody seems to have that as their objective,” attorney Will Somerville said.

Will Webster, a lawyer for the AMCC, was vague when asked about what the negotiations might entail, and said of a possible third licensing round, “Right now, there’s not been a decision made about exactly the things that are going to need to happen. But we’re in conversation about that.”

Multistate operator Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF) also sued the AMCC after losing out on an integrated facility permit when the commission re-awarded the licenses last month despite being one of the original winners in June. It’s not clear if Verano is also party to the negotiations.

A new licensing round is one of the requests from Always Alabama, and the company also wants applications to be rescored. The company ranked 26 out of 38 applicants for an integrated facility license to grow, process, and sell cannabis products. Only five such permits were awarded by commissioners, a cap established by state law.

For now, the entire Alabama medical marijuana program remains at a standstill, with both the AMCC having paused its permitting process, and a court issuing a temporary restraining order preventing regulators from moving ahead with licensing.

The restraining order is in effect until at least Sept. 19.

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