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The slow road to medical marijuana in Alabama

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Medical Marijuana

Senate Bill 56 says that on Sept. 1, the company RX Connection, along with others, can apply for an integrated facility license.

Alabama is inching closer to having marijuana available for some medical use.

Before medical marijuana can hit pharmacy shelves, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is ironing out rules for business licenses for cultivators, processors, dispensaries and testing laboratories.

Right now, there's a lot interest in growing medical marijuana, but it's going to be a large financial investment with tight restrictions.

"When the process starts, that will be around the clock, seven days a week," said Rex Vaughn, a Madison County farmer on the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.

Not to mention, farmers will face an initial large cost.

"The initial expense and investment is going to be unbelievable," said Vaughn. "I don't know that all these growers are really cut out to do that."

Production for medical marijuana will be done in a greenhouse, not outside. Security to protecting the greenhouse will be another added expense for farmers.

The commission is hammering out details on security of growing, the seed to sale process and obtaining computer programs for tracking the complete process.

Vaughn said rules for growers should be set in mid-July, but that's just one hurdle.

"We're probably looking at a three-month average turnaround from the early planting stages to a product," said Vaughn. "Hopefully, possibly the end of this year, but likely to be (2023) before we can see a product in place."

The commission is working in partnership with Alabama Department of Agriculture to ensure that legislation is followed.

If you're looking to grow medical marijuana for the state, applications will open in September of this year.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is made up of Alabama doctors, scientists and farmers, all bringing their different backgrounds to the table.

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