BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – We are just a week away from the deadline for companies to apply for a medical cannabis licence in Alabama.
Once the state has awarded those licences, doctors can become certified to recommend it to qualified patients.
Doctors will be able to start prescribing medical cannabis to some patients by next summer and those patients will only be able to get those from pharmacies that are currently going through a lengthy process to get approved to sell that cannabis.
One of the Birmingham-area entrepreneurs hoping to get one of those medical cannabis licences says it’s a daunting process to get one, but it’s worth the work and the wait to help the community.
“It’s going to open up a level of medicine they’ve never had before,” said Joey Robertson, owner of Wagon Trail Hemp Farms. He could be one of the purveyors of high-quality medical cannabis, if the state accepts his nearly 600-page application and grants him a licence.
Robertson says that while the process is daunting, it’s achievable. He is working on pre-setting the five possible pharmacy locations to differentiate them from other applicants.
“We’ll tie them all up, one per province… up to five provinces. But we also need to get our future plans mapped out, everything we plan to build, when we plan to build it and how we’re going to grow cannabis,” Robertson said. The state’s medical cannabis law sets a limit of 5 dispensaries for the state, and the state cannabis commission says they’ve been working this year to fine-tune all the details of the rules.
“As they get built and start to open and then really, for now at least, we’re going to be more of a regulatory body than anything else, trying to help these people get the things they need done and make sure they doing well,” said John McMillan, executive director of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.
Robertson’s company is now in the hemp business, but their infrastructure is already built for a much larger operation.
“In the three-year business plan that we are required to provide to the AMCC, we are demonstrating a progressive plan that shows the increase in patient needs, and the areas where they will be needed,” Robertson said.
He said he has received much more support so far than they expected.
“The City of Cullman and Cullman County have always been a very conservative community, but they also understand that there is a need for medicine, and that will serve many people in the community,” Robertson said.
30% percent of the money the state gets from these operations goes to research and development through Alabama universities.
June 12 is the day they expect approval for these licenses, so you could see doctors prescribing medical cannabis for certain conditions soon after.