Cannabis Commission Wants Plants Next Year, Hires Director

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission will ask state lawmakers to revise the state's medical marijuana law in order to get plants in the ground next year and make the products available to patients sooner, Al.com reported.

The commission also voted to offer State Treasurer John McMillan the job of executive director of the new agency that will run the medical cannabis program. McMillan served two terms as state agriculture commissioner and is a former commissioner of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. McMillan told the news outlet he expects to accept the job, which would require him to resign as state treasurer. Ivey would appoint a replacement.

Al.com reports that Commission Vice Chair Rex Vaughn said he has been in discussions with lawmakers about moving up the start date for licensing cultivators from Sept 1, 2022 to early 2022.

“It may allow us to grow a crop in 2022,” Vaughn said. “That is our game plan right now.”

The time required to grow the plants, which will be raised in greenhouses, is 90 to 110 days. Unless the Sept. 1, 2022 date is changed, products could not be available until some time in 2023, Vaughn said.

The Legislature is not in session now, but a special session is expected later this fall on redistricting. Another might be held on prison construction. It is Gov. Kay Ivey’s decision to call a special session and name the subjects that will be debated during it,

The 14-member commission oversees a new agency that will license and regulate cultivators, processors, secure transporters, testing laboratories and dispensaries of medical marijuana products. It will be a seed-to-sale intrastate program, with products made from plants grown in Alabama.