MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission passed new rules resetting the license application process for the third time on Thursday.
Under the new rules, the Commission will reconsider the applications they already have. The scores will stay, but applicants now have the chance to make a public presentation to the Commission about why they should get a license.
Presentations for the integrated facility license will be up to 45 minutes long, with all other categories being 20 minutes.
Commission Chairman Rex Vaughn said the scores from the University of South Alabama will be a resource for Commissioners, but he expects the presentations will weigh heavily into their consideration.
“It kind of is a reset I guess you could say,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn said the presentations should clear up criticism that the Commission didn’t make site visits, since applicants can show videos or pictures of what they have.
Another rule change narrows the scope of redactions so that more information is made public about applicants.
Vaughn said the goal is to have licenses awarded by the end of this year.
“These new rules today will really set the pace for us to move quickly,” Vaughn said.
Amanda Taylor hopes it does move quickly. She has multiple sclerosis and said medical cannabis would help.
“I am suffering greatly,” Taylor said. “My health is suffering greatly because I’m having to do without medical cannabis.”
Taylor said she’s been coming to these meetings and is heartbroken with how long it’s taken. Still, she said she’s optimistic after seeing the steps taken Thursday.
“I feel hope. I have some fire in me,” Taylor said.
Lawyer Will Somerville, representing Alabama Always, a company suing the Commission, said the rules seem like a step in the right direction.
“Sounded promising to me,” Somerville said.
Additionally, Somerville said he thinks the presentation aspect of the process will be important.
“It will help us go to the Commission (and) explain why we are capable of producing medical cannabis faster than anybody else,” Somerville said.
The end-of-year timeline goal could all depend on next Wednesday’s court hearing over the alleged Open Meetings Act violation and what the judge decides to do.
Vaughn said, depending on the court’s action, the Commission plans to begin the new process over a 30-day period starting Oct. 26, which is when their next meeting will be held.