GULF SHORES — Gulf Shores will not seek to become one of the cities where medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed in Alabama, but officials support facilities opening nearby in Foley.The …
GULF SHORES — Gulf Shores will not seek to become one of the cities where medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed in Alabama, but officials support facilities opening nearby in Foley.
The Alabama Legislature voted earlier this year to allow medical marijuana to be dispensed at a limited number of locations around the state. Under the act, the dispensaries can only be placed in municipalities where the city councils have approved them.
Gulf Shores appointed a committee to recommend whether the city should approve or reject allowing dispensaries in the municipality.
Lee Jones, director of planning and city development, said the committee recommended that Gulf Shores not approve dispensaries in the city. The committee suggested that the city support Foley's move to allow the facilities there.
"The committee did not recommend authorizing dispensaries within the corporate limits," Jones told city council members Monday, Dec. 12. "They actually recommended the mayor draft a letter to the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission supporting the licensing of a dispensing site within the city of Foley."
Jones said a Foley site would allow Gulf Shores residents who are prescribed the drug a nearby location without having a facility in the city.
"It would provide access for our residents that may be in need, may have a medical cannabis card at the time to have access to medical cannabis, but the jury is still out as to whether or not a dispensing site within the corporate limits whether or not we're ready for that," Jones said. "There's still more conversation that needs to take place and that committee's going to hold together and over time will continue to have this conversation, but in the meantime, Foley has authorized dispensing sites."
The Foley City Council voted in September to allow companies wanting to apply for state permission to open a medical marijuana dispensary to be located in the city. Spanish Fort and Daphne are among the cities that have also approved the measure.
Under the act approved by the legislature, marijuana could be dispensed from up to 37 sites across Alabama.
The legislation allows four licenses to be issued for dispensaries. Each licensee would be allowed to open up to four dispensaries. A dispensary license would cost $40,000, according to state reports.
Five licenses will be issued for integrated facilities that would allow license holders to carry out all the steps in the process, from cultivation to dispensing medical marijuana products to patients. Each license holder would be allowed to operate five facilities. An integrated facility license fee would be $50,000, according to Cannabis Commission reports.
Other licenses would also be issued for cultivators, processors, secure transporters and testing laboratories.
The Alabama Cannabis Commission is scheduled to vote June 12, 2023, to approve or deny license applications. Approved licenses will be issued July 10, according to commission reports.