In a recent filing against the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, it is alleged that the commission mishandled applicants by mislabeling them as felons and improperly eliminating them from consideration for licenses. The filing, submitted by Madella Inc., a minority vendor applying for an integrated facilities license, claims that the commission erroneously flagged the company for failing the requirement of a felony background check, even though all owners and directors passed the check. Sources suggest that this may not be an isolated incident, as at least seven companies were publicly labeled as failing the criminal conviction history requirement, when in fact they had not. This filing could potentially lead to a restart of the licensing process, forcing the commission to re-score all applicants.
Filing alleges misconduct by Cannabis Commission in handling of applicants
Filing says Cannabis Commission mislabeled applicants felons, improperly eliminated them
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) is facing serious allegations of misconduct in its handling of applicants for cannabis licenses. A recent filing by Madella Inc. claims that the Commission mislabeled applicants as felons and improperly eliminated them from consideration for licenses. These allegations could have far-reaching consequences for the Commission and its licensing process.
Background of the issue
AMCC and its licensing process
The AMCC is responsible for overseeing the licensing process for medical cannabis facilities in Alabama. This process involves evaluating applications from companies that wish to operate in the state’s cannabis industry.
Madella Inc.’s application for an integrated facilities license
Madella Inc., a minority-owned company, applied for an integrated facilities license from the AMCC. This license would allow the company to cultivate, process, and distribute medical cannabis.
AMCC’s requirement for felony background checks
As part of the application process, the AMCC requires all applicants to pass a felony background check. This check is intended to ensure that individuals with disqualifying criminal histories are not involved in the cannabis industry.
Allegations of mislabeling and improper elimination of applicants
According to the filing by Madella Inc., the AMCC erroneously flagged the company for failing the felony background check requirement. The filing states that Madella Inc. submitted all the required background check reports, which showed that its owners and directors had no disqualifying criminal history. Despite this, the AMCC eliminated Madella Inc. from consideration for a license.
Details of the filing
Amended complaint against AMCC by Madella Inc.
Madella Inc. has filed an amended complaint against the AMCC, alleging that the Commission wrongly labeled the company as failing the felony background check requirement. The complaint argues that this erroneous labeling led to Madella Inc.’s elimination from the licensing process.
Errors in flagging companies for failing the criminal conviction history requirement
The filing claims that the AMCC incorrectly flagged at least seven companies, including Madella Inc., for failing the criminal conviction history requirement. According to sources familiar with the situation, six of these companies were wrongly tagged by the Commission.
Sources confirming erroneous tagging by the Commission
Multiple sources have confirmed that the AMCC publicly labeled several companies as failing the criminal conviction history requirement when, in fact, they had not. This raises serious concerns about the accuracy and fairness of the Commission’s evaluation process.
Possible consequences for the Commission’s licensing process
If the allegations of mislabeling and improper elimination of applicants are true, it could have significant consequences for the AMCC’s licensing process. Montgomery Circuit Court Judge James Anderson may be forced to order the Commission to restart the process and re-score all applicants.
AMCC’s acknowledgment of mistakes
Removal of criminal conviction history designations from scores
The AMCC has already taken some steps to address the issue. The Commission removed the criminal conviction history designations from the scores that were posted on its website. This suggests that the AMCC acknowledges its mistake in wrongly labeling companies as failing the background check requirement.
AMCC’s semi-apology and revised reporting form
In addition to removing the criminal conviction history designations, the AMCC posted a semi-apology on its website. The apology stated that the designation did not necessarily indicate a criminal background but rather the possibility of incomplete documentation. The Commission also revised its reporting form to eliminate the criminal conviction history reference.
Disputes over background check issues by Madella and other impacted companies
Despite the AMCC’s acknowledgment of a possible documentation issue, Madella Inc. and other impacted companies dispute that there were any problems with their background checks. They argue that they followed the Commission’s guidance and provided all the necessary information.
Lack of communication from the Commission regarding filing problems
One of the concerning aspects of this situation is the lack of communication from the AMCC regarding the filing problems. Companies like Madella Inc. were not alerted to any issues with their applications and only discovered their elimination from consideration when the scores were posted. This lack of communication has further compounded the frustration and confusion surrounding the licensing process.
Legal implications of the filing
Request for determination of AMCC’s violation of laws and administrative procedures
Madella Inc.’s filing asks the Montgomery County Circuit Court to determine whether the AMCC violated laws and the Alabama Administrative Procedures Act in its scoring process for licenses. This legal action seeks clarity and accountability for the alleged misconduct by the Commission.
Damages sought by Madella for slanderous labeling of its leadership group
In addition to requesting a determination of the AMCC’s violation of laws, Madella Inc. is seeking damages for the slanderous labeling of its leadership group as felons. The inaccurate labeling tarnished the company’s reputation and may have had a negative impact on its business prospects.
Updates and ongoing litigation
AMCC’s problems with its own witnesses
The AMCC is facing additional challenges in its ongoing litigation. The Commission is seeking to block affidavits from its own witnesses, which raises questions about the transparency and fairness of its proceedings.
AMCC’s determination of undue burden in granting amended applications
The AMCC has also determined that its own rule, which limited the size of amended applications, was an undue burden. This determination came months after the original deadline for applications, further complicating the licensing process.
Stay on recently approved licenses due to multiple lawsuits
Multiple lawsuits connected to flaws in the AMCC’s application process have resulted in a stay on recently approved licenses. This legal uncertainty further delays the issuance of licenses and creates frustration for applicants who have been waiting to enter the cannabis industry.
AMCC’s intention to start the licensure process again
In light of the allegations and legal challenges, the AMCC has expressed its intention to start the licensure process again. This decision reflects the seriousness of the issues raised and the need for a fair and transparent evaluation of all applicants.
The filing alleging misconduct by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission in the handling of applicants has brought significant scrutiny to the Commission’s licensing process. The mislabeling and improper elimination of applicants raise serious concerns about the fairness and accuracy of the evaluation process. The AMCC’s acknowledgment of mistakes and attempts to address the issue are positive steps, but further investigation and legal action will be needed to ensure accountability and fairness. The ongoing litigation and stay on recently approved licenses indicate that the licensing process may face additional delays. Moving forward, it will be crucial for the AMCC to communicate effectively with applicants and address any potential issues promptly and transparently. The ultimate goal should be a licensing process that is fair, unbiased, and supportive of the growth and success of the medical cannabis industry in Alabama.