Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Program Could Be Delayed
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Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Program Could Be Delayed

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission held its second meeting this week, where commissioners indicated that cultivation licenses may not be available until next year.

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August 26, 2021

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission held its second meeting this week, where commissioners indicated that the state’s medical cannabis program may not launch by September 2022, as originally planned.

The 14-member commission, which only received its final appointments last month, met to begin discussions about the framework of the program that will eventually allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients with one of several qualifying conditions, including autism, Crohn’s disease, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Medical cannabis sales were originally expected to launch by September 2022, but commissioners now anticipate that cultivation licenses may not be available until then, which could delay the program’s launch into 2023, according to a WSFA report.

“The legislation was initially [supposed] to start in September of 2021 and [it was] pushed it back a year not thinking that we could get organized and going this fast,” Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Chair Dr. Steven Stokes told the news outlet. “Sen. [Tim] Melson was here; he said he would assist us in enabling legislation in the first session so maybe we can move it up.”

The commission is still accepting applications for a director until Aug. 30, WSFA reported. A director will be appointed at the next meeting on Sept. 9.

The Alabama Legislature approved the state’s medical cannabis legislation in May, and Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law May 17.

The law created the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to license cultivators, processors, transporters, testing labs and dispensaries, as well as to oversee the program.

“All that has to go in sequential fashion, and we have a lot to do, and we have to get organized,” Stokes told WSFA. “I think we’re moving faster than anybody thought we could."