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Alabama medical cannabis lawsuit may proceed, Court of Civil Appeals says

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Alabama medical cannabis lawsuit may proceed, Court of Civil Appeals says

Jun 21, 2024 | 7:29 pm ET
By Alander Rocha
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Alabama medical cannabis lawsuit may proceed, Court of Civil Appeals says
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A close up a cannabis plant at Native Black Cultivation in Bessemer. (Courtesy of Antoine Mordican. Photo by Amir Muhammad, Quail King Productions)

A lawsuit challenging Alabama’s medical cannabis licensing process can proceed, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruled on Friday.

The judges unanimously denied a request from the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to overturn the Montgomery Circuit Court order. The order allows Alabama Always, one of the firms denied a license in three attempts, to proceed with its lawsuit. The court stated that a motion to dismiss filed by the AMCC must be considered first.

“Until a trial court rules on a matter, a petition for the writ of mandamus is premature,” according to the ruling.

The AMCC argued that Alabama Always failed to name individual commissioners in their appeal notice and that their lawsuit was filed outside the set time frame.

The AMCC first awarded licenses in June, but scoring inconsistencies led the commission to void the awards and reevaluate the applications.

A lawsuit alleging the commission violated the Open Meetings Act halted the process again in August. That prompted the commission to rescind the awards again and negotiate with litigants.

The AMCC adopted new licensing rules in October after months of legal dispute and stalled settlement negotiations, setting the third licensing round for December. There has been a stay on dispensary licenses and integrated facilities — multimillion-dollar operations that can make products from cultivation to selling in their own dispensaries — licenses since then.

Although licenses for cultivators, processors and transporters have been issued, doctors can not recommend medical cannabis until dispensary licenses are issued.