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Company asks judge to block Alabama medical marijuana licenses


A company that failed to win a potentially lucrative medical marijuana license in Alabama asked a judge Tuesday to block the state from issuing the licenses to anyone, arguing a state commission improperly deliberated in private before selecting the winners.

The filing is the latest legal skirmish in the battle over who will get licenses to grow and distribute cannabis for the state’s developing medical marijuana program.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission on Thursday nominated and approved companies after meeting in private for several hours. Alabama Always, a company that was not among the winners, said the commission violated the Open Meetings Act, and is seeking a temporary restraining order to block the licenses from being issued.

The filing said commissioners “retreated into executive session, only to emerge three and a half hours later and ratify a slate of applicants that it had voted on during executive session.”

“It is painfully clear now that the Commission continues to believe that it can conduct its business in private and observe the (Open Meetings Act) only by violating it,” the filing stated.

William Webster, attorney for the commission, said last week that commissioners met in private to receive information about the license applicants but did not deliberate in private, reported. After emerging from the private meeting, commissioners nominated companies to receive the licenses and voted on them during the public portion of the meeting.

Commissioners voted on the licenses after voiding their original selections made in June because of what was described as human errors in the scoring of applications. The commission selected 24 companies to receive licenses, many of which were among the original winners.

Alabama lawmakers in 2021 ended years of resistance and approved the creation of a program to allow marijuana to be used for certain medical conditions. However, it is not available yet to patients because the state has to develop rules and award grower and distributor licenses.

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