MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama has officially awarded licenses to businesses that will pioneer the state’s medical cannabis industry, but it will still be some time before patients can get the product.
Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Director John McMillan says the license award process was a big step forward, but the rollout could be somewhat hampered by challenges from businesses that were denied a license. He hopes it’s no more than a few extra weeks.
More than 90 applicants vied for the 21 licenses awarded Monday. McMillan says applicants Tuesday are receiving application scores and information explaining how they were assessed by the University of South Alabama.
Those denied have 14 days to appeal through an investigative hearing.
McMillan says so far, just one day out, no one has yet appealed.
“Somebody that was unsuccessful can challenge an application that was accepted. So, we’ll see how that goes. And that’s the next step,” McMillan said.
That’s not the only thing that could lengthen this process. McMillan says they will be starting a new application process for three license categories: cultivator, secure transporter and lab.
In the cultivator category, the commission can award up to 12 licenses but has only announced 4. They also need more than one state lab, for which there is no limit to the number of licenses in law.
“We only had one lab, for example, that qualified for a license, and we’ve got to have more than that for the rest of the program to be able to roll out successfully, so we’ll do that as quickly as we can,” McMillan said.
Once products are available to qualifying patients, they will include things like tablets, capsules, tinctures, oils and peach-flavored gummies.
“Peach is a pretty big deal in Alabama. Can’t use peanuts or corn or soybeans or something, so peach just fell in line,” McMillan said.
Even with some hurdles ahead, Director McMillan expects the product will be available for patients by either the end of this year or early next.