The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has announced that there will not be marijuana licenses issued until next year.

According to a commission official, the agency has so much to still do before people can apply for medical cannabis licenses.

Before people can apply, the commission has to establish rules and train physicians, commission Vice Chairman Rex Vaughn said.

Vaughn also noted that it must create a central database to register patients by next September. Registration cards will cost up to $65 a year.

Since would-be growers and distributors cannot apply for licenses before Sept. 1, 2022, the substance probably won’t be available before 2023, said marijuana supporters.

The legislature approved the medical cannabis bill this past May.

The commission must decide license applications within 60 days.

“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,” John McMillian, the commission’s executive director, said after the commission’s meeting earlier this month.

Sen. Tim Melson, a Florence Republican and sponsor of a bill to move up the date, said he supported the commission’s decision. As they favor a program implemented in a “thoughtful and correct” manner.

Once available, doctors in the state will be able to prescribe cannabis for at least 16 conditions including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.

The plant will be available as tablets, capsules, gummies, lozenges, topical oils, suppositories, patches, and in nebulizers or oil to be vaporized. The law forbids smoking or vaping medical cannabis, or baking it into food.


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