MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT)– A new lawsuit has been filed against the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission just days after the Commission re-awarded licenses.
The company Alabama Always filed a motion for a temporary restraining order Tuesday, asking a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge for another stay of the process, alleging that during the most recent meeting the Commission violated the Open Meetings Act.
Alabama Always was denied a license in the most recent round of voting, but their lawsuit takes issue with the way the Commission voted.
The court filing says “A primary motivation for Alabama Always’s filing of this lawsuit is the Commission’s penchant for conducting its business in secret, engaging in, among other things, repeated violations of the Open Meetings Act.”
At the last meeting, commissioners submitted secret ballots to nominate which companies they wanted to have available to vote from. After that, commissioners voted in public.
Alabama Always Attorney Will Somerville says that nominating process amounts to voting in private.
“A rose by any other name is still a rose, right? They had ballots. They wrote their votes down on ballots and they turned them in in secret. It had an effect on the outcome of the voting,” Somerville said.
AMCC’s Communications Director Brittany Peters said in an email they are aware of the filing but are “unable to provide further comment on pending litigation.”
This is the second suit brought by Alabama Always.
The company has spent millions of dollars on building a facility in Montgomery in anticipation of receiving an integrated facility license, with the expectation that they would have to be ready to start operations within 60 days of getting a license.
Commission Chairman Rex Vaughn said at the last meeting he doesn’t think companies should have done that.
“I wish they had not gotten so far in front of our process not knowing who was going to get a license,” Vaughn said.
It’s not clear what may happen with that facility at this time.
“I think we have a number of options, but we have not gotten to that yet,” Somerville said.
Somerville says the company hopes the court acts relatively soon with a hearing and pauses the process for what would be the second time.
He says the company wants to see the court stay the process and overturn the votes that occurred at the meeting, saying that the commissioners alone should be making decisions on what companies receive licenses without relying on third party scorers.