Legislative & Licensing Update: October 26, 2022

Alabama License Applications Released This Week

The hottest news in cannabis licensing this week is the release of the application in Alabama — and it’s the heftiest we have seen in a while. Applicants have a tremendous amount of detail to prepare and submit before the December 30 deadline. In this competitive medical license market, those planning to apply should not underestimate the amount of detail required to submit an application that meets the “exceptional” level described in the application scoring details.

Plus cannabis licensing news from Florida, CAURD notices and expectations for New York adult-use applications,  more application opportunities in Detroit, and two weeks to Get Out the Vote in five states with adult-use ballot initiatives.


Initial Tips on How to Apply for Alabama Medical Marijuana Licenses

The long-anticipated applications and guidelines for Alabama’s medical licenses were made available earlier this week. These include licenses for Integrated / Vertical Facilities, Cultivators, Processors, Dispensaries, Secure Transporters, and State Testing Laboratories. 

After the first review of the applications, our Alabama cannabis consultants noted that this is one of the heftiest we have seen in a while and that applicants should not underestimate the work required to prepare an exceptional application.

The workload required for these applications is particularly high with some of the highlights including heavily scored documents such as a business plan, standard operating plan and procedure, facilities documentation, engineering plans and specifications, a security plan, and a Quality Control and Quality Assurance Plan. The scoring guide indicates that scores will be awarded per section on a scale from unacceptable to exceptional, score ranges varying depending on the item being graded. For example, a 100-point item such as the tax compliance history will need 81-100 points to be deemed exceptional while a 50-point item such as the employee handbook will need 41-50 points for exceptional. 

The window opens to begin accepting Alabama license applications on October 3t with the deadline for filing being December 30. There will also be various fees including a non-refundable application fee when applying for a license, a license fee when approved for a license, the annual fee to renew a license. We’re more than happy to answer any and all of your Alabama medical cannabis licensing questions too, so don’t hesitate to reach out. 


Florida’s Medical Marijuana Growth

Regulators in Florida are asking for a $6.2 million funding increase for the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.

As originally reported in Florida Politics, Florida cannabis regulators are in need of additional funds to keep the state’s burgeoning medical marijuana market up and running. To meet the rise in demand, the Florida Department of Health have asked for an additional $6.2 million in funding for the Office of Medical Marijuana Use for fiscal year 2023.

We’re also seeing that OMMU intends to award 23 additional licenses in the current fiscal year to address the growing number of registered patients, which is expected to reach almost 890,000 by June 2023.

Florida is staying busy in the medical cannabis space, though be prepared for an onslaught of litigation and high fees when entering the market. Look no further than Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who said he would, “Charge an arm and a leg” for Florida licenses. If you’re looking at entering the cannabis market in Florida, be sure to have realistic expectations on costs and fees, and some patience doesn’t hurt too. 


New York Adult-Use Application Progress

New York conditional dispensary (CAURD) licenses are being graded, with cure notices being sent out to applicants for additional documentation.

If you are a CAURD applicant, be sure to check your emails, including your Spam folder, for requests for cure from the email address AUCommunications@ocm.ny.gov. Documentation requested will need to be sent to this email address as soon as possible, with the due dates for requested material being in early November for most applicants. Check your emails and submit the requested documents ASAP. 

There is movement and action being done in New York, with CAURD licenses hopefully being awarded in November of this year. This will pave the way for additional licenses to be awarded and for the adult-use New York market to truly begin. 

Be sure to check your email if you are a CAURD applicant for cure notices and submit the requested materials before the deadline, which varies based on when the application was submitted to the online portal. And for non-CAURD applicants, this is a good sign that there is movement in New York and hopefully regulations for other licenses will be dropping

Cannabis License Opportunities in Detroit

Detroit, Michigan received 90 applications for 60 available cannabis licenses in this first round of licensing. Detroit will be issuing a total of 160 licenses in three phases, this just being the first of many additional opportunities for those looking at entering the market. The city has faced no shortage of lawsuits and roadblocks to its adult-use cannabis ordinance, specifically related to its equity applicants. These equity applicants include people who live in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition and enforcement. Equity applicants also include those with certified Detroit Legacy status currently living in Detroit or another disproportionately impacted community. Following the dismissal of two lawsuits challenging the program, the licensing was able to proceed. 

The first round of licensing for Detroit may be closed, but it will not be the last time to apply. The high demand seen for the currently 60 available licenses speaks well to the general interest in the marketplace, with 40 of the 90 applications submitted being from equity applicants. 

These first 60 licenses will be awarded to 40 retailers, 10 microbusinesses, and 10 consumption lounges. There are still unlimited licenses available for Growers, Processors, Secured Transporters, and Safety Compliance and additional retail license phases should be opening again soon. 

Two Weeks until November 2022 Adult-Use Votes

It’s less than 2 weeks until the November midterm elections, with adult use legalization on the ballot in 5 states: Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, ND, and SD. So be sure to check your voter registration status and vote, especially in states such as these. 

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