Alabama judge puts medical marijuana licenses on temporary hold

A judge has temporarily blocked Alabama from issuing licenses to medical marijuana facilities amid an ongoing legal battle over how the state selected the winning companies.

Montgomery Circuit Judge James Anderson issued a temporary restraining order late Wednesday to stop the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission from issuing licenses for “integrated” facilities that grow, transport and sell medical marijuana. The coveted licenses, which the commission planned to issue this month, will be on hold while he hears a challenge to the selection process.

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Companies that were not selected to receive the licenses have challenged the selection process used by the commission.

Anderson said he is sympathetic to concerns about delaying the availability of medical marijuana but said a pause on the licenses is merited.

The restraining order is the latest development in a legal battle that has plagued the start of Alabama’s medical marijuana program. Alabama lawmakers voted to allow medical marijuana in the state in 2021. Commission officials are aiming to make the products available in 2024 after a series of delays.

The Wednesday order only affects the licenses for the facilities that perform multiple functions from “seed to sale.” The judge last week put a hold on licenses for dispensaries in order to hear a similar challenge. The commission has issued licenses for growers, processors, transportation companies and laboratory testing.

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