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Settlement agreement ratified by Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission

On Monday, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) voted in favor of a settlement to a number of lawsuits that were blocking the Commission moving forward on licensing in the state due to a court order.

Rex Vaughn is the Chairman of the AMCC. He said Monday the AMCC staff and attorneys have produced a settlement after having, “Participated in court ordered mediation.”

The AMCC is represented by Mark Wilkerson. “The court dismissed the temporary restraining order,” Wilkerson explained. Wilkerson said that the third-party scoring was an issue that the plaintiffs had brought up.

Wilkerson said that in addition to those suits that are in Montgomery Circuit Court a plaintiff went to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals asking for an injunction to stay the Commission’s proceeding. The Appeals Court however did not act until “Until we see what happens in Circuit Court.”

RELATED: Settlement reached in Alabama medical cannabis lawsuits

There, Judge James Anderson ordered the AMCC and the plaintiffs to attend third party mediation with Phillip Adams, a mediator from Auburn.

“We participated in an almost day long mediation process,” Wilkerson said. “Not every party in this litigation has concurred with this solution,” Wilkerson said of the proposed agreement.

This addresses the issues with the scoring and the ten-megabyte application size limit.

“If you vote to ratify a settlement, that would do the following: Dismiss the Court of Civil Appeals case, dismiss with prejudice all matters on the scoring or the ten-megabyte limit. If you ratify this what you are agreeing to do is not consider the third party scoring or the USA (University of South Alabama) scoring in you deliberations.”

“This amounts to disqualifying the USA scoring,” Vaughn emphasized to the commissioners. “It will not be considered.”

The Commission voted unanimously to ratify the court ordered settlement agreement allowing them to move forward with the application process as Judge Anderson’s stay on the proceedings has been lifted.

This allowed them to begin hearing presentations from applicants. The first round of applications considered were cultivator and state testing laboratory applicants. The AMCC will be back on Tuesday to consider other categories.

The commission has already voted to rescind both the awards from June and August. This whole process has been delayed for months due to applicants who failed to win awards filing lawsuits challenging the process.

The commission will vote Friday on awarding the cultivator, state testing laboratory, secure transporter, dispensary, and cannabis processor, awards.

RELATED: Company challenges license reversals in Alabama cannabis licensing battle

Next week, the commission will hear presentations from those applicants pursuing the vertically integrated licenses, which allows the possessor to grow, process, transport, and dispense medical marijuana in the state of Alabama. This is the license with the most applicants. Thirty applicants are competing for a maximum of just five spots. Those awards will not be made until December 12.

The AMCC is hoping that the first legal Alabama grown and raised medical marijuana product will be available to Alabamians with a diagnosed medical need by the end of March.

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