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HOW TO OPEN A DISPENSARY IN ALABAMA

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In March 2021, Alabama proposed SB46 and the Darren 8 Wesley 'Ato' Hall Compassion Act to establish infrastructure for a medical marijuana program within the state, poising to become the 37th state to legalize a medical market. It will allow for multiple license types within the state however still prohibits raw cannabis, smoking, vaping, baked goods, and candies. The commission has a deadline of Sept. 1, 2022 to set up the rules to implement the program and issue licenses to cultivators, processors, transporters, testing laboratories, and dispensaries. 

 

The bill establishes the first Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to regulate patient registration, with a dedicated fund to cover costs, as well as the Medical Cannabis Research Consortium for medical research on cannabis.

Commissioners were reportedly in discussions with legislators to allow cultivators to be licensed sooner, in early 2022. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) would regulate the cultivation of medical cannabis. The Alabama Legislature is expected to meet in a special session later this year to approve new congressional and legislative district boundaries based on the 2020 Census.

 

The ADAI regulates the cultivation and processing of hemp under the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. The registration period for hemp growers, processors, and universities seeking licensure in 2020 is now closed.

Available Medical Marijuana License Types 

Five different license types applicable to medical cannabis only are offered by the commission.

 

  • Cultivation license

  • Processing license

  • Transporting license

  • Testing license

  • Dispensing license

  • Integrated facility license

 

These licenses are subject to a non-refundable application fee of $2,500, as well as a license fee of $10,000-$50,000. 

 

According to updated SB 46 the commission will award licenses to a minimum of four cultivators, a maximum of four processors, and a maximum of four dispensaries (allowing up to three locations each). The bill also allows for up to five integrated facility licenses which may grow, process, transport, and dispense cannabis, and may have up to five separate dispensing sites as long as they are in different counties. 

Applicants business plans will be considered by the commission, including ability to conduct proposed activities, previous expertise and history in business, and planned location. 

SB46 allows patients with the following conditions to qualify for medical marijuana:

  • Anxiety or panic disorder

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

  • Cancer-related cachexia, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, or chronic pain

  • Crohn's Disease

  • Epilepsy or a condition causing seizures

  • Fibromyalgia

  • HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss

  • Persistent nausea 

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Sleep disorders

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and other spasticity disorders

  • Spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis or a spinal cord injury

  • Terminal illness 

  • Tourette's Syndrome

  • Chronic or intractable pain

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