HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The City of Huntsville is one step closer to taking part in Alabama’s new medical cannabis system.

According to a news release from the city, officials believe these products would be beneficial to qualified patients who suffer from chronic or terminal illnesses. For a list of those conditions authorized to be treated with medical marijuana, click here.

“We’re taking a thoughtful and measured approach to make certain we get this right,” said Mayor Tommy Battle.

The hypothetical program would include a “well-thought-out zoning plan” in addition to state regulation implemented by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC). The Huntsville Planning Commission approved a public hearing for medical cannabis dispensaries at the next council meeting.

“For us, it is the work that’s necessary to make sure we ensure and protect the uses that go along with these facilities,” said Thomas Nunez, the City of Huntsville’s Manager of Planning Services. “We don’t want to create intrusive uses upon our residents so we commonly look at other state regulations, other city regulations to make sure that we’re doing the best – one for our citizens, but also for the use in general.”

Alabama law requires municipal governments to pass an ordinance, then tell the state they want to allow dispensing sites in their respective communities. The ordinance will be introduced at the October 13 meeting of the Huntsville City Council.

Following that introduction, the ordinance could be voted on two weeks later, in addition to finalizing the zoning plan and making any necessary changes to City license and tax requirements.

“I sell a lot of cannabis-related products every day solely for pain, sleep, and inflammation,” said Amy Parris, the owner of Scottsboro Vapor. “Instead of people going elsewhere or on the streets for these things, when you can walk into a building and have a face, build a relationship, and have a conversation about these products, the trust is built and people feel better about stuff like this.”

An AMCC spokesperson responded to a News 19 request for the number of business applications filed as of October 11, 2022.

  • Colbert County: 2
  • DeKalb County: 4
  • Franklin County: 0
  • Jackson County: 3
  • Lauderdale County: 5
  • Lawrence County: 1
  • Limestone County: 7
  • Madison County: 36
  • Marshall County: 5
  • Morgan County: 5

Alabama became the 37th state to legalize cannabis for medical use in 2021. The legislation, later signed by Governor Kay Ivey, decriminalizes marijuana for medical use and created the AMCC.

AMCC is accepting license applications through October 31, 2022. The first dispensaries could be operational by mid-2023 after those licenses are granted.