The chairperson of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission stepped down on Thursday after a lawsuit challenged his eligibility to serve on the board.
Dr. Steven Stokes, a radiation oncologist from Dothan, Alabama, submitted his resignation Thursday from the commission tasked with regulating medical marijuana providers in the state.
“Dr. Stokes has a genuine desire to see medical cannabis products available to patients in Alabama. … We greatly appreciate Dr. Stokes’ contribution to the Commission and anticipate that he will remain at the forefront of the development of Alabama’s medical cannabis program,” a spokesperson for the commission wrote in an email.
The statement from the commission did not give a reason for the resignation.
A lawsuit filed last month challenged Stokes’ eligibility to serve on the commission since he also serves as a trustee for the University of South Alabama. State law says public officials, lobbyists and candidates for public office cannot serve on the board.
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission in June pulled back licenses that had been awarded to cultivators, dispensaries and others after discovering potential problems with how applicants were scored.
Brittany Peters, a spokesperson for the commission, said the board is scheduled to re-award licenses and restart the procedural timelines associated with the licensing process at its meeting on Aug. 10.
Alabama lawmakers in 2021 ended years of resistance and approved the creation of a program to allow marijuana to be used for certain medical conditions. However, it is not available yet to patients as the state develops rules and procedures for the program.