SB46, now Act 2021-450, relating to medical cannabis was signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey on May 17, 2021. There are many steps that must take place to implement the act and begin issuing licenses.
Please note, as the Act currently reads, no licenses will be issued under this act until after September 1, 2022.
The following is a brief overview of the required next steps to implement Act 2021-450:
1. The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission will be established by July 1, 2021. The Commission will consist of 14 members appointed by the Governor (3) , the Lt. Governor (3), the President Pro Tem of the Senate (2), the Speaker of the House (2), the Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries (1), the State Health Officer (1), the Attorney General (1), and the Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, “ALEA” (1).
2. The Commission may hire staff to implement the Act.
3. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and other interested agencies will work with the Commission to address any conflicts in the Act and implement the Act. ADAI will likely play some role in the regulation of cultivators, integrated facilities, and processors. The extent of this role will be finalized after working with the Commission.
4. The Act tasks the Commission to begin allowing applications for licenses on September 1, 2022. The Act requires public hearings and other steps before the licenses are issued.
5. The Act provides for a maximum of 12 cultivator licenses, 4 processor licenses, and 5 integrated facility licenses.
6. The Commission will present a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2022, giving an update on the progress toward implementing the Act and recommending changes that need to be made to the law for successful implementation of a medical cannabis program.
7. It will be well after September 1, 2022, before any product will be available for qualified patients because no medical cannabis can be grown or processed until cultivators, integrated facilities, and processors are licensed and begin operation. As noted above, the application period for these licenses will not open until September 1, 2022.
8. All issues relating to patients, doctors, and dispensaries, will be handled by the Commission.
We anticipate many developments after the Commission is established and begins meeting in July of 2021. Please check our website for updates to the implementation process and timeline.