FOLEY — Baldwin County residents should know later this year whether any of the 37 medical marijuana sites will be located in their areas, state officials said.The Alabama Medical Cannabis …
FOLEY — Baldwin County residents should know later this year whether any of the 37 medical marijuana sites will be located in their areas, state officials said.
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission received 94 applications for medical cannabis business licenses, according to an AMCC report. Brittany Peters, spokeswoman for the commission, said the names of the applicants and proposed locations of the dispensary sites will be released after the formal submission of applications. The submission is scheduled April 13.
The Alabama Legislature passed an act in 2022 allowing a limited number of licenses to be issued for medical marijuana production and dispensary sites. The act requires that local government agencies vote to allow the sites to be in that area before an application could be approved for a particular location.
Six Baldwin city or town councils — Daphne, Foley, Loxley, Magnolia Springs, Robertsdale and Spanish Fort — voted to allow dispensaries. More than 60 cities or counties in the state voted to allow the sites, according to AMCC reports.
The commission received 12 applications each for cultivator and processor sites, the report said. Other applications included 18 for dispensaries, 11 for secure transporters, three for state testing laboratories and 38 for integrated facilities.
Under the law, the commission can award up to 12 cultivator licenses, four processor licenses, four dispensary licenses, five integrated facility licenses and an unspecified number of secure transport and state testing laboratory licenses.
The applications are now under review by a team of evaluators at the University of South Alabama, the report said.
"Applicants have provided plans for production, business operations, facilities and security, to name a few, as part of their application," Commission Chairman Steven Stokes, an oncologist, said in a statement. "Although reviewing these competitive applications is a huge undertaking, we will continue to move forward in implementing a fair and robust process that makes public health and safety a top priority."
After the applications are made public in April, the commission will accept comments on the proposals for 30 days.
The commission is scheduled to vote July 12 to award the licenses. Once the business licenses have been issued, doctors may begin the certification process to recommend medical cannabis to qualified patients.
"The commission spent much of 2022 laying the groundwork for Alabama's medical cannabis industry by drafting rules and regulations, obtaining software tracking systems and developing the business applications," said John McMillan, AMCC director. "We are excited to utilize the strong framework we put together to implement a safe and operational medical cannabis industry as we move into 2023."
Under the Alabama program, registered doctors can recommend medical cannabis to patients who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder; cancer-related pain or nausea; Crohn's Disease; depression; epilepsy or conditions 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; Tourette's Syndrome; a terminal illness; or conditions causing chronic or intractable pain, an AMCC report said.
Medical cannabis products that may be recommended to patients include tablets, capsules, tinctures, gelatinous cubes, gels, oils or creams for topical use, suppositories, transdermal patches, nebulizers or liquids or oils for use in an inhaler. Raw plant materials, products administered by smoking or vaping, or food products such as cookies or candies will not be allowed.
Anyone wanting more information about the Alabama medical cannabis program can go to amcc.alabama.gov.