In 2021, the Alabama legislature approved a bill that authorized the production of medical cannabis by licensed growers, processors, and distributors. Unfortunately, to start a cannabis business in Alabama, you must first be approved and awarded a license, and obtaining a license is a very daunting task, as proven by Joey Robertson, owner of Wagon Trail Hemp Farms, after he submitted his nearly 600-page application.
What’s fascinating about this is that the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) received as many as 94 applications leading up to the December 30 deadline, although it distributed more than 600 applications. Those that submitted their application to get in on Alabama’s budding industry faced the same grueling hurdle as Joey Robertson, and now it’s time for the commission to evaluate the applications and ultimately award licenses during its June 12, 2023 meeting.
After such lengthy applications, many dreams of starting a legal medical cannabis business in Alabama will be destroyed, as the AMCC is expected to only award up to 12 cultivator licenses, 4 processor licenses, 4 dispensary licenses, 5 integrated facility licenses, and licenses for secure transport and state testing laboratories, which hasn’t received a specific number just yet.
The application contents and the names of the applicants will be available to the public following the formal submission of applications, which is set to take place on April 13, 2023. Public comments will be accepted for 30 days thereafter.
After the June 12 meeting, physicians may then begin the certification process, which is to recommend medical cannabis to those patients who qualify. What’s interesting about this is that after some Alabamians heard about medical cannabis approval, some of them assumed it would be an easy process to qualify, and once qualified they’ll have an endless option of resin-coated cannabis flower and delicious cannabis-infused edibles. However, Alabama medical cannabis looks much different than what some people expected.
To start with, a medical cannabis card will cost $65. To qualify for the card, you must have an ongoing relationship with the physician and diagnose by the physician with a qualifying condition, which includes:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Cancer-Related Cachexia (Weight or Muscle Loss), Nausea or Vomiting, Weight Loss, or Chronic Pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Epilepsy or A Condition Causing Seizures
- HIV/AIDS-Related Nausea or Weight Loss
- Panic Disorder
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Persistent Nausea
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Spasticity Associated With Multiple Sclerosis or Spinal Cord Injury
- A Terminal Illness
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- A Condition Causing Chronic or Interactable Pain
Once qualified and awarded the medical cannabis card, patients may have the option of consuming cannabis in various forms, including tablets, capsules, gelatins, oils, gels, creams, suppositories, transdermal patches, and inhalable oils or liquids. The law, however, specifically forbids consuming cannabis by smoking it or taking edibles, which are the most popular forms of cannabis consumption in other states where cannabis is legal.
To begin, patients will be allowed up to 50mg of cannabis per day, and after three months, the physician can increase the dosage up to 75mg per day. There are no dosage limitations set in place for people will a terminal illness.
- Montgomery Advertiser – Medical Cannabis in Alabama: When it will be available, how to get it and more to come
- ABC 3340 – Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission receives more than 90 business applications
- Chof 360 – Alabama medical cannabis license application window closing soon
- WSFA – State’s medical cannabis business application deadline approaching