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July 2021 Group Watch: Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Commission Coming Together

The 14-member board that will oversee Alabama’s new medical marijuana industry is being formed. The bill passed by the Legislature in May that legalizes and regulates the production and use of medical marijuana products in Alabama calls for the Medical Cannabis Commission to be in place by July 1. The commission has until  September 1, 2022, to establish rules for implementation of the program and to issue licenses to cultivators, processors, transporters, testing laboratories and dispensaries. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries will regulate the cultivators.

Governor Ivey, the lieutenant governor, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the speaker of the House, the agriculture commissioner and the health officer all get to make appointments to the commission, and the attorney general and secretary of state each name a non-voting advisory member.

Twelve of the total 14 have already been named. Governor Ivey announced her three appointees: Dr. William Saliski Jr., a pulmonologist from Montgomery; Sam Blakemore, a pharmacist at Children’s of Alabama hospital in Birmingham; and Dwight Gamble, a bank executive from Headland. Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth named Dr. Angela Martin, a pediatrician from Anniston; Dr. Eric Jensen, a biochemist from Brownsboro; and Loree Skelton, a healthcare lawyer from Birmingham. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon named Rex Vaughn, a Madison County farmer and north region vice president for the Alabama Farmers Federation, and Charles Price, a retired circuit judge from Montgomery. Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed appointed Dr. Steven Stokes, a radiation oncologist from Dothan, and Taylor Hatchett of Boozer Farms in Chilton County. Ag Commissioner Rick Pate appointed James Harwell, former executive director of the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association and president of Green Thumb Nursery in Montgomery. Attorney General Steve Marshall has appointed AG Chief Counsel Katherine Green Robertson.

All nominees face Senate confirmation when the Legislature returns but can serve before confirmation since the Legislature is not in session.

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