Applicants are lining up for a limited number of medical marijuana licenses in Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — It’s taken a long time for proponents of medicinal cannabis to convince the Alabama legislature to make it legally available in the state.

Now, more than a year after lawmakers approved a program to grow, process, and distribute medical marijuana, the licensing application process is in full swing.

There are many interested companies and an important deadline is approaching.

Last month was the deadline to submit an application and December 31 is the application deadline according to the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC). The commission hasn’t officially announced when medical marijuana will be available yet, but since the commission won’t vote on licensing until June 12, it appears the earliest before availability is late 2023.

AMCC is accepting applications in six main areas including cultivation, processing, dispensaries, laboratory testing, distribution and integrated facilities. Licenses don’t come cheap, a grower license costs $40,000 to start, as does a pharmacy license and integrated facility license $50,000, but there are many applicants.

There are 133 applicants for five licenses for an integrated facility that includes everything from cultivation to processing to dispensing and transportation. These licenses allow five pharmacies per license.

State records show that 124 breeders or producers have applied for 12 licenses.

There are four licenses to become processors – those who convert cannabis into medical marijuana – and the state reports there are 35 applicants.

Pharmacies, essentially distribution and sales, are the most popular category with 239 applicants for 4 licenses – although each licensee can establish 3 pharmacies.

There are no license restrictions for lab test sites – but there are seven applicants and safe transport has 69 applicants and no license restrictions either.

Jefferson County has the most applications in the areas listed under 131. Montgomery County residents are the second largest in applications submitted with 51, and Madison County has 49 applications, including 28 for dispensaries, 8 for integrated facilities, and three for claimants.