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Alabama MMJ Regulator Says Business Licenses Will Be Issued Before Year’s End, New Study Shows That Cannabis Users Who Caught COVID-19 Had Better Outcomes than Nonusers, and New Ruling Allows Retailers to Resume Selling Hemp-Derived THC Products in Maryland

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Alabama MMJ Regulator Says Business Licenses Will Be Issued Before Year’s End

Even though Alabama legalized medical marijuana more than two years ago, the medicine remains unavailable – largely because of continued problems getting the program off the ground. Now, the state’s cannabis regulator has said that licenses will be awarded before the end of the year. The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) has twice tried to award business licenses to medical marijuana entrepreneurs, only to retract the permits because of ongoing litigation and alleged impropriety. Despite the two failed attempts at launching the medical marijuana industry for the state, the AMCC said there is a third option for awarding licenses to businesses. According to AMCC Chair Rex Vaughn, the method is a kind of “reset” for the whole licensing process. Applicants will make presentations before the AMCC, which is also permitted to consider application scores from the previous two unsuccessful rounds of licensing.  

New Study Shows That Cannabis Users Who Caught COVID-19 Had Better Outcomes than Nonusers

A recent study indicates that marijuana users were more likely to have better overall outcomes after contracting COVID-19 than nonusers. The study was based on hospital data and the results were presented at the annual conference of The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) in Honolulu this week. Cannabis users had lower rates of respiratory failure, intubation, and death after getting COVID-19 when compared to nonusers who caught the illness. Researchers used data from 322,214 patients from the National Inpatient Sample, which is a government data bank used to track the utilization of hospitals and outcomes. Only 2,603 patients said they used cannabis. Researchers viewed the cannabis users and nonusers as two separate populations and noted that the marijuana consumers tended to be younger and also tobacco users. The nonusers, however, had higher rates of comorbidities, such as obesity and diabetes. Overall, the study authors found that the group that identified as cannabis users had significantly fewer health complications related to COVID-19. 

New Ruling Allows Retailers to Resume Selling Hemp-Derived THC Products in Maryland 

In July, when Maryland kicked off adult-use marijuana sales, a law took effect that only permitted licensed cannabis retailers to sell hemp-derived products that contain intoxicating amounts of THC. Now, at least temporarily, the ruling of a circuit court judge and resulting injunction pausing the new law will allow retailers to continue selling hemp-derived THC products such as synthetic THC, delta-8 THC, and delta-10 THC. Hemp business owners around the state were pleased with the judge’s injunction, while state officials were discouraged that retailers can continue selling unregulated hemp products. Judge Brett Wilson’s injunction was in response to a civil lawsuit from the Maryland Hemp Coalition that objected to the new law, saying it is unconstitutional. A final decision on the lawsuit itself is still pending.