Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Chair Resigns

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The chairman of Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC), Dr. Steve Stokes, has resigned from his position.

Recently, Alabama’s chairman of the Medical Cannabis Commission, Dr. Steve Stokes, resigned from his position. It comes not long after a Mongomery attorney requested a judge to issue a writ of quo warranto to remove Stokes from his duty (1).

The plaintiff, Kimberly Holcomb, through her attorneys, have claimed that the state law which formed the AMCC, prevents “any public official” from being a Commission member. They mentioned that Stoke’s position as a member of the University of South Alabama (USA) Board of Trustees, as well as his re-appointment to a seat on that board is against that specification in the medical cannabis legislation.

Dr. Stokes spoke with WBRC in a recent interview (2) and mentioned that he was not planning on resigning. He rejected allegations referring to a conflict of interest and stated that he had been vetted for the chairmanship position before his nomination.

The AMCC is suffering from multiple lawsuits regarding the process the organization used to issue the first-of-their-kind licenses for medical cannabis in June (1). These licenses were put on pause and then rescinded within days after the AMCC said it discovered “tabulation errors” in the scoring system used to grade applicants for the limited amount of medical cannabis licenses.

Applicants have argued that Dr. Stokes is a conflict of interest in the scoring process for the applications (1). Dr. Stokes has refused to admit that there are any conflicts of interest and mentioned that he recused himself from the vote to hire the University of South Alabama.


The AMCC is set to meet on August 10, 2023. The Commission and their Executive Director, John McMillan, have commented that they hope to disclose the results of re-scoring of the license applications by the accounting firm, KPMG, and issue new licenses in the state (1).

Dr. Steve Stokes released a statement to WBRC (1), about his resignation from the AMCC:

“It is with great disappointment that I tender my resignation from the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. I feel that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Alabama, some of whom desperately need access to cannabis to treat their medical conditions, for me to step down.

It is my sincere hope that by taking this action, I can remove a distraction that is holding back progress to ensure that these products are reaching the individuals who have already been waiting far too long.

It has been a profound honor to work with the incredible members of the Commission, all of whom have dedicated countless hours over the last two years to develop the foundation of Alabama’s medical cannabis industry. It was a pleasure to serve on the Commission and I believe that the Commission has done, and will continue to do, valuable work for the citizens of this state.

While there are those driven by greed who hope to discredit and obstruct this program from moving forward, I know that my fellow members will endeavor to deliver medical cannabis products to the patients of Alabama who are suffering. I hope that my resignation will allow the Commission to move swiftly to award the licenses authorized in the Darren Wesley Hall Compassion Act, so that the patients in Alabama will have access to treatment that they desperately need. I feel confident in the future of this program, even at this most challenging time.

It has been an honor to serve as the inaugural Chairman of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. Steven H. Stokes, M.D.”

The attorney who filed the court challenge, William Somerville, also made a statement (1):

“We have always believed the medical cannabis license process should be open and transparent.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case and there have been apparent conflicts of interest and closed-door meetings shrouded in secrecy that have hampered this process from the very beginning.

We applaud Dr. Stokes for his decision to follow the clear law of the state of Alabama and step down as a member of the Commission.

We and other applicants, who followed the application process to the letter, just want the commission to do what is right – follow the law, adhere to the rules and regulations of the selection process and give each and every application a thorough and comprehensive review.

We are confident, as this process moves forward, that the commission will do the right thing for all applicants and follow the law as intended.”


  1. Hardison, J. Chair of Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Resigns (accessed Aug 3, 2023).
  2. Hardison, J. Ala. Cannabis Commission Chair: “I’m staying” (accessed Aug 3, 2023).