The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission on Thursday completely redid its initial round of business licensing for applicants competing for a handful of available permits, and some of the original winners – including multistate operator Verano Holdings Inc. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF) – were suddenly losers.
In June, Verano won just one of five “integrated” permits that allow cultivation, processing, and retail. At the time, CEO George Archos hailed it as an “excellent opportunity” for the MSO to expand its footprint in the South.
But almost immediately, commissioners halted the licensing system over potential scoring discrepancies, and a legal battle also broke out.
Then on Thursday, the commission replaced Verano with Insa Alabama LLC, while retaining the other four original integrated license winners.
“We are extremely disappointed and frustrated,” the company said in an emailed statement to Green Market Report.
The company said it received “the highest score of any applicant across the entire pool,” competing for the integrated licenses, “which makes this decision appear random, confusing, and without merit,” Verano said.
“This arbitrary and capricious action by the commission denies the state and its prospective medical patients access to a well-capitalized applicant, and the company will pursue all options to defend our rightfully earned Integrated Facilities License, including legal remedies,” Verano said. “Our meticulous and detailed application spoke for itself and demonstrated Verano’s experience and strong track record operating best-in-class retail and cultivation facilities in 13 states.”
At the close of the meeting, one commissioner said officials were going into recess so that staff could “make sure we have adequately awarded minority licenses and regional dispersement is adequate.”
The Illinois-based MSO wasn’t the only loser to walk away from the permit redo empty-handed. Alabama Secure Transport also lost a transporter license it was originally granted, James Gang Dispensary was suggested for a cultivation license but didn’t win, and ALA Labs – only one of two applicants for marijuana lab testing permits – was also denied a license.
Of the 90 eligible license applications, the commission chose just 24 winners:
Integrated: (maximum of five allowed by law)
- Insa Alabama LLC
- Flowerwood Medical Cannabis LLC
- Southeast Cannabis Company LLC
- Sustainable Alabama LLC
- TheraTrue Alabama
Cultivation: (maximum of 12)
- Gulf Shore Remedies LLC
- Pure by Sirmon Farms LLC
- Twisted Herb Cultivation LLC
- Blackberry Farms LLC
- I AM FARMS
- Greenway Botanicals LLC
- CRC of Alabama LLC
Processors: (maximum of four)
- Enchanted Green LLC
- 1819 Labs LLC
- Organic Harvest Lab LLC
- Jasper Development Group Inc.
Dispensaries: (maximum of four)
- Yellowhammer Medical Dispensaries Inc.
- CCS of Alabama LLC
- RJK Holdings AL LLC
- Statewide Property Holdings AL LLC
Transporter: (no maximum)
- Tyler Van Lines LLC
- International Communication LLC
- XLCR Inc.
Testing lab: (no maximum)
- Certus Laboratories