BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
On July 12, the Butler County Commission passed a resolution authorizing the operation of medical cannabis dispensing sites within unincorporated areas of the county.
The resolution was passed with a 3-1 vote with Commissioners Joey Peavy, Rebecca Butts, and Allin Whittle voting yes and Commissioner Darrell Sanders voting no. Commissioner Jesse McWilliams was not present at the meeting.
The resolution states in part:
“Whereas, during the 2021 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature, Act 2021-450 was enacted and codified in Title 20, Chapter 2A, Code of Alabama 1975, to create within the Alabama a wholly intrastate system for the cultivation, processing and distribution of medical cannabis; and
“Whereas, Act 2021-450 defines a “dispensary” as an entity licensed by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to dispense and sell medical cannabis at dispensing sites to registered, qualified patients and registered caregivers; and
“Whereas, Act 2021-450 defines “integrated facility” as an entity licensed to perform the functions of a cultivator, processor, secure transporter, and dispensary; and
“Whereas, Act 20201-450 defines a “dispensing site” as a site operated by a dispensary licensee or an integrated facility licensee; and
“Whereas, Act 2021-450 states that a dispensary licensee or integrated facility licensee may not operate dispensing site in an unincorporated area of a county unless the county commission has authorized, by resolution, the operation of dispensing sites within its boundaries; and
“Whereas, the Butler County Commission believes it is in the public’s interest to authorize the operation of dispensing sites within the unincorporated areas of the county;
“Therefore be it resolved by the Butler County Commission that is does herby authorize the operation of medical cannabis dispensing sites by dispensary licensees and integrated facility licensees within the unincorporated areas of the county.”
Butler County Commission Chairman Joey Peavy has since indicated several surrounding counties have also passed similar ordinances and the commission based their decision in part based on that information.
Each incorporated area (i.e. municipality) in Butler County will have to pass and submit a resolution agreeing to authorize dispensing sites if they so choose by Aug. 31 to the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC).
The AMCC will issue licenses to up to: 12 cultivators, four processors, four dispensaries that can operate as many as three locations in separate counties, secure transporters, labs to test for potency and content, and five integrated companies that can cultivate, process, transport, and dispense the products.
The integrated licensees will be able to have up to five dispensaries each. That means the state could have up to 37 dispensaries.
Alabama physicians who want to certify patients for medical cannabis would have to pass periodic training classes and establish an “expectation” that they will provide continuing care to these patients.
Physicians also will have to register with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the AMCC, and in most cases have practiced in Alabama for at least three years.
According to the AMCC website currently no physicians are approved to certify patients.
The date when medical cannabis will be available is uncertain, but beginning Sept. 1, 2022, a person may apply to the commission for a license for an integrated facility or for a license as a cultivator processor, secure transporter, state testing laboratory or dispensary.
The allowed products include: tablets, capsules, tinctures, gels, oils, and creams for topical use, suppositories, transdermal patches, nebulizers, and liquids or oils for use in an inhaler.
Products that are not allowed include: raw plant material, products that could be smoked or vaped, and food products such as cookies or candies.
The conditions which qualify for medical cannabis treatment include: autism, cancer-related weight loss or chronic pain, Crohn’s, depression, epilepsy or condition causing seizures, HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss, panic disorder, Parkinson’s, persistent nausea not related to pregnancy, PTSD, Sickle Cell Spasticity associated with diseases including ALS, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries, terminal illnesses, Tourette’s, and chronic pain for which conventional therapies and opiates should not be used or are ineffective.
For more information visit https://amcc.alabama.gov