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Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Hits Delays in Creating Medical Marijuana Market

It’s a good-news-bad news situation. The good news is that you will be able to get an Alabama Marijuana Card soon. The bad news is that the commission working on creating medical marijuana has run into a delay.

And in a no-news-might-be-good-news department, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) hasn’t explained what exactly is slowing them down.

The delay is a surprising turn of events, given that not long ago the AMCC’s work was proceeding so smoothly that the commission considered asking the state legislature to move up the planned date for the opening of the state’s medical marijuana market.

AMCC Director Says Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Process has Slowed Commission’s Work

AMCC Executive Director John McMillian spoke to the Dothan Rotary Club on March 14, and during his remarks he admitted that the commission’s work has hit some delays.

According to WTVY, Dothan’s CBS affiliate, McMillian said the biggest obstacle the commission faces right now is finalizing the licensing process for would-be medical marijuana dispensaries. WTVY said McMillian blamed the delay on the “plethora of stringent regulations included in state legislation passed last year” that legalized medical marijuana here.

Director Unclear on Specific Issue Slowing Dispensary Licensing Rules

McMillian offered no more specific explanation of that, and the AMCC website offers no further insights into what exactly is slowing the dispensary licensing process.

While the dispensary subcommittee’s work is mentioned in five of the six AMCC meeting minutes posted on the site, nothing in any of the minutes indicates that the work was troubled or behind schedule.

Alabama Medical Marijuana Law Includes Detailed Directions Regarding Dispensaries

Even without a specific explanation, it isn’t difficult to imagine ways the AMCC might find themselves struggling to create a dispensary licensing system that satisfies all of the requirements of SB 46, the state law that legalized medical marijuana here.

In fact, the law contains almost 9,000 words in regard to the regulation of dispensaries and their products and employees.

It might seem like a lot of unnecessary government regulations, but it’s the strict specificity of SB 46 that will make medical marijuana purchased in Alabama so safe and effective. After all, don’t you want to know that your medicine is being purchased from a safe and secure dispensary staffed by knowledgeable, highly-trained employees?

AMCC Was Once Ahead of Schedule in Creating Medical Marijuana Market

McMillian’s aside to the Rotary Club was the first indication that the commission’s work was not proceeding smoothly. In fact, at one time the AMCC was so ahead of schedule in their work that they considered asking the state legislature to move up the opening of Alabama’s medical marijuana market.

In October, Dr. Steven Stokes, the Chairman of the AMCC, told WBHM, Birmingham’s NPR affiliate, he was confident that the AMCC would be able to persuade the legislature to move up the planting timeline. “They just didn’t think that the commission, our commission would move as fast as we’ve moved. We’ve gotten organized,” he said at the time.

Just a couple of weeks later, that idea was scuttled, because the AMCC concluded that the time needed to grow cannabis meant moving the deadline just wasn’t viable.

“If you start looking at the timelines for what it’s going to take to get rules and regulations approved, and the growth cycle and the 60 days that people have to get in business after they get the license, it starts adding up,” McMillian told the Montgomery Advertiser after the AMCC’s October 1 meeting.

AMCC Director Calls Bias Against Marijuana a “Problem”

McMillian did say the commission was dealing with one other big issue when it came to completing their work.

“We have one problem, and that is to overcome the stigma of marijuana, or I should say illegal marijuana,” McMillian said in his remarks to the Rotary Club. “People need to know that when we have this program up and running. It’s going to be safe and secure.”

Beyond educating people about the safety and quality of a highly regulated medical marijuana market as compared to the wild, wild west of street drugs, cannabis also still suffers from biases and stigmas involving misunderstandings about the medicine and the patients who use it.

In fact, research shows that medical marijuana patients tend to be highly educated. Further, the evidence indicates that marijuana is not in fact a “gateway drug,” an excuse that has so long been used to justify keeping suffering patients from finding relief. And finally, studies show again and again that medical marijuana, when used properly and under a doctor’s care, is a safe, effective treatment for a long list of conditions.

Don’t Despair: Medical Marijuana is Still on Track to Arrive in Alabama Soon

While McMillian did say that the commission’s work had hit some hurdles, he still remained confident that medical marijuana will be available here soon.

According to WTYV, the director said he expected the first doses of medical marijuana here to be available by early-to-mid 2023. That means that despite whatever obstacles they’ve encountered, the commission doesn’t expect the already announced timeline to be affected.

And that’s the glass-half-full bottom line to keep in mind, Alabama: Your wait is almost over, and medical marijuana is only a year or so away.

And it's bringing relief when it gets here.

Start Getting Ready for Medical Marijuana Right Now!

While you wait for 2023 to bring long overdue relief to Alabama, take the first step towards getting your Alabama Marijuana Card and reserve an appointment online today with one of our compassionate, knowledgeable doctors?

We’ll book your appointment just as soon as Alabama’s medical marijuana market is up and running. Not only will you get medical marijuana more quickly, but you’ll save $25 off the cost of your exam!

Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Alabama Marijuana Card, our mission is 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!

Check out Alabama Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.

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