SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) – Companies that were issued licenses for medical marijuana are facing a legal battle that’s delaying the disbursement of medical cannabis in the state.
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Coalition has heard the pleas from patients who suffer with pain.
They’re asking the governor to call a special session instead of waiting months for the legislative session that’s further delayed the process for those with qualifying medical conditions.
In August the state Medical Cannabis Commission awarded 21 licenses for medical marijuana cultivation and distribution.
A few days later, the commission halted the process after finding “potential inconsistencies in the tabulation of scoring” in the application process. Shortly after, some vendors seeking licenses, like Mountaintop Dispensary in Scottsboro, filed lawsuits.
“We are a trainwreck in the state as far as the medical program is concerned,” John Deitz of Mountaintop told News 19. “The commission has let down not only the state of Alabama but potential patients for this program.”
The private group, Alabama Cannabis Coalition, is calling on Governor Kay Ivey to amend legislation that could open ‘free markets,’ and to get this ball rolling so hemp growers and suppliers like Mountaintop can potentially save the lives of people in Alabama who are suffering with pain.
“Most of the citizens are upset with the businesses that are filing the lawsuits but it’s not the businesses that they need to be upset with. They need to be upset with the legislature,” said H. Marty Schelper, founder of the Coalition. “You’ve got a lot of terminally ill patients that are having to go across states lines and get things black market and illegally just to be able to survive or just to be able to ease their condition.”
Deitz says most of his customers are not looking for a high but are instead in search of relief.
“The longer that they wait to rework this or work this out you’ve got people that are sick and currently needing medicine and you’ve got people dying that need care,” said Dietz.
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission voted in September to impose a stay on the issuance of licenses that were awarded in August.
That stay is in effect at least until the opening of the state’s legislative session in February.