MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — As the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission could be nearing a third round of license awards following two court-ordered stays, Director John McMillan is hopeful the process moves forward soon.
McMillan says in hindsight the Commission would probably have done some things differently with the process, but right now he just wants patients to have access to medical cannabis as soon as possible.
McMillan serves as Director of the AMCC with a long background in state government — having spent time as State Treasurer, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Industries and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
He denies allegations that the licensing process has lacked transparency.
“I’ve been around state government a pretty good while. We’ve bent over backwards to be just as transparent as we possibly can,” McMillan said.
The companies suing the Commission over alleged violations of the Open Meetings Act have disagreed that it’s been transparent enough, and a Montgomery County judge has stayed the process twice now.
Lawyers for the companies that sued, and the Commission are currently in talks on how to move forward. McMillan offered few specifics on what might come of the negotiations and whether a third round of licensing is on the table.
“Hard to tell. We’ve been and are optimistic with the way things have gone so far. Most of the applicants seem to be willing and interested in getting licenses awarded and the program moving, but there’s a few hard cases out there as well,” McMillan said.
McMillan has previously estimated the product would be available for patients by the end of this year or early next. Now, he says that’s up in the air.
“Tell me how many more lawsuits we’re going to have to deal with? So there’s no way to know,” McMillan said.
The Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for September 19.