Over 600 Alabamians request medical marijuana applications

A commercial medical marijuana grow operation is set up to properly cultivate the medicine. Canna Obscura / Shutterstock.com

The Alabama Medical Marijuana Commission (AMCC) closed its portal on Monday, allowing Alabamians to download application forms to apply to participate in the newly legalized Alabama medical marijuana industry. There were 607 sets of application forms requested and downloaded since the portal opened on September 1.

The most popular license appears to be for marijuana dispensaries. According to the Commission, 239 persons or companies downloaded the applications to apply for a marijuana dispensary license.

One hundred thirty-three application packets were downloaded for integrated facilities licenses. An integrator grows the marijuana, processes the marijuana into a sellable product, and then markets the cannabis through its own company-controlled dispensaries.

One hundred twenty-three downloaded applications to be marijuana growers. A marijuana grower simply grows the plants but then has to sell the buds that they harvest to a processor. They cannot market directly to the consumer or process the product with just a cultivator license.

Sixty-nine application packets were downloaded for secure transporters. Marijuana is strictly regulated under Alabama law, from seed to the point of sale. Only a licensed secure transporter may transport the marijuana from the cultivator to the processor or from the processor to the dispensary. Every ounce of marijuana has to be accounted for at every point in the supply chain through the seed-to-sale tracking system.

Thirty-five application packets were downloaded for marijuana processor licenses. The Alabama medical cannabis law does not allow for raw plant product to be sold to consumers, and there is no smokable product allowed in the state. Anyone who smokes or sells smokable marijuana products in the state of Alabama is a criminal and will remain a criminal even after this is implemented.

All the marijuana sold under the Alabama law must be in the form of a pill, an edible form such as a gummy, an ointment, suppository, tincture, or other approved form. The processors are tasked with taking the raw plant product and transforming that into a marketable product. They buy from the growers and sell to the dispensaries and make sure that the products are uniform and do not exceed the tetrahydrocannabinol limits set by the legislature for non-terminal patients.

There were seven applications for state testing labs downloaded. The testing lab tests every batch of marijuana legally grown and marketed in the state. The number of licenses that can be awarded is strictly limited for each category by the legislation.

Alabama passed its medical cannabis law in the 2021 Alabama regular legislative session. The legislation was signed into law by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Senate Bill 46 created the AMCC and empowered the Commission to set up and regulate the new industry. The completed applications are not due until late December, and the actual licenses will not be awarded until July.

Only Alabamians with a demonstrable medical need and a recommendation from a doctor will be able to purchase medical cannabis under this system. The first marijuana products will not be on the market until 2023 – at the earliest.

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