Alabama Hires Cannabis Commission Director, Discusses Cultivating Medical Marijuana Sooner
The commission responsible for designing and overseeing Alabama’s medical marijuana market has hired its director, and has also begun discussing moving up the start day for cultivators here to begin growing cannabis. Together, these two developments are confirmation that medical marijuana is indeed coming to Alabama, and that there is no reason to delay getting your Alabama Marijuana Card.
We already told you about how the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC)had been directed by its chairman, Dr. Steven Stokes, to form a subcommittee to search for an executive director for the AMCC, in compliance with the medical marijuana law established with the passage of SB 46.
September 9, 2021: State Treasurer Lands Top Cannabis Job
The AMCC voted at its September 9 meeting to offer the Executive Director position to State Treasurer John McMillan. According to U.S. News and World Report, McMillan has served two terms as state agriculture commissioner and is a former commissioner of the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
McMillan has since accepted the position and resigned as state treasurer. Governor Kay Ivey will appoint a replacement.
McMillan told the Alabama Media Group that he took the position as Executive Director of the AMCC because “More than anything it’s just the challenge of being able to start a significant state agency that I think stands to really help a lot of people that need it as we move forward.”
“We’ve had some good research going on and there’s been interest in this for a number of years, “McMillan said. “It just appeals to me with my experience in state government and government agencies, you might say fixing some of them, that this is an opportunity to start something from scratch and get it right and see it bloom.”
Dwight Gamble, the AMCC member who helmed the search for an executive director, told the Alabama Media Group that McMillan’s unique work history set him apart from the 13 other applicants the subcommittee considered.
“He just had a wealth of knowledge, over 40 years in state government, working at so many agencies, just gave him a leg up,” Gamble said.
According to the Alabama Media Group, McMillan’s selection was unanimous, and it is hoped he will start by October 1.
McMillan said that although the program is intended to be self-funded based on taxes on cannabis products and businesses, he expects Governor Ivey to help with some initial funding from her budget, with the Legislature adding additional funding during some special sessions planned over the next couple of months.
Once funding is out of the way and the AMCC ready to get to work, McMillan told the Alabama Media Group that there will be a lot to do and not much time to do it.
“The first thing we’ve got to do is get the rules and regulations going,” McMillan said. “And then there’s several databases that have got to be developed. So, there’s just a whole lot that’s got to be done pretty quick. It’s like somebody handing you a blank sheet of paper and a hundred-page piece of legislation and saying, go start this agency with no money, no office, no telephone, nothing at this point.”
AMCC Asks Legislators to Move Up Date for Beginning of Cannabis Cultivation
The AMCC also discussed moving up the start date for cannabis cultivation at its September 9 meeting.
Commission Vice Chair Rex Vaughn told the Alabama Media Group that he has been discussing the possibility with lawmakers, because the AMCC is concerned that products won’t be available for patients in accordance with the deadlines established in SB 46 unless planting starts sooner.
September 1, 2022 is Still the Date to Watch for Now
SB 46 dictates that the rules governing the medical marijuana market be in place by September 1, 2022.
But Vaughn, who is a Madison farmer, told WAAY, Huntsville’s ABC affiliate, that the existing timeline established in SB 46 wouldn’t give growers time to provide the medicine needed to enable dispensaries to open by the autumn of 2022.
The plants, which will be raised in greenhouses, will take 90-110 days to raise, meaning that unless the September deadline is moved up, products would not be available until 2023, Vaughn said.
Vaughn told the Alabama Media Group that he will ask legislators to allow cultivation to begin in early 2022 instead of the fall. “It may allow us to grow a crop in 2022,” Vaughn said. “That is our game plan right now.”
It Seemed Like it Would Never Arrive, but Medical Marijuana is Indeed Coming to Alabama
Thirty-six states already have medical marijuana markets, and it seemed at times like Alabama would never be one of them.
But now not only is the AMCC operating according to the timeline established in SB 46, they’re actually asking to accelerate that timeline.
And while it would be great if medical marijuana were available to Alabama Marijuana Card holders by the fall of 2022, what’s a few more months when so many Alabamans have waited years for relief?
Pinch yourself, Alabama; medical marijuana is coming.
Medical Marijuana Won’t be Here Until 2022 or 2023, but You Can Get Ready Now
While it may be a year or a little longer before Alabama’s dispensary doors are opened and their shelves stocked, you can get ready for the arrival of medical marijuana now.
Reserve an evaluation today with one of our knowledgeable cannabis doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Alabama’s medical market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. You’ll discuss your condition and how medical marijuana might help you find the relief you’ve been missing. And you’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at 833-781-5633, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
And don’t forget to check out Alabama Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.