Section 20-2A-56

Notice and comment period; license ineligibility; issuance or denial; fee; expiration and renewal.

(a) Before issuing any license under this article, the commission shall provide notice and a 30-day period during which members of the public may submit written comments regarding an applicant. The commission shall consider all comments received during the 30-day period. The commission may hold a public hearing as it deems necessary, at which the applicant may present its business plan for the operation of its facilities and allow further comments or questions from the public. The hearing shall be conducted in a manner that allows members of the public to participate remotely by virtual means.

(b) An applicant is ineligible to receive a license if any of the following circumstances exist:

(1) An owner, director, board member, or individual with a controlling interest in the applicant has been convicted of or released from incarceration for a felony under the laws of this state, any other state, or the United States within the past 10 years or has been convicted of a controlled substance-related felony within the past 10 years; provided, however, the commission shall not consider any conviction overturned on appeal or any charge that has been expunged pursuant to Chapter 27 of Title 15.

(2) The applicant has knowingly submitted an application for a license under this article that contains false information.

(3) An owner, director, board member, or individual with an economic interest in the applicant is a member of the commission.

(4) The applicant fails to demonstrate the ability to maintain adequate minimum levels of liability and casualty insurance or other financial guarantees for its proposed facility.

(5) The applicant cannot provide records described in subdivision (a)(10) of Section 20-2A-55.

(6) For an applicant seeking an integrated facility license or a cultivator license, the applicant cannot provide records described in subdivision (a)(11) of Section 20-2A-55.

(7) The applicant fails to meet other criteria established by rule.

(c) In determining whether to grant a license to an applicant, the commission may consider all of the following:

(1) The integrity, moral character, and reputation; personal and business probity; financial ability and experience; and responsibility or means to operate or maintain a facility of the applicant and of any other individual that meets either of the following:

a. Controls, directly or indirectly, the applicant.

b. Is controlled, directly or indirectly, by the applicant or by a person who controls, directly or indirectly, the applicant.

(2) The financial ability of the applicant to maintain required financial guarantees.

(3) The sources and total amount of the applicant's capitalization to operate and maintain the proposed facility.

(4) Whether an owner, director, board member, or individual with a controlling interest in the applicant has been indicted for, charged with, arrested for, convicted of, pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or forfeited bail concerning, or had expunged any relevant criminal offense under the laws of any jurisdiction, either felony or misdemeanor, not including traffic violations, regardless of whether the offense has been expunged, pardoned, or reversed on appeal or otherwise.

(5) Whether the applicant has filed, or had filed against it, a proceeding for bankruptcy within the past seven years.

(6) Whether the applicant has been served with a complaint or other notice filed with any court or public agency regarding payment of any tax required under federal, state, or local law that has been delinquent for one or more years.

(7) Whether the applicant has a history of noncompliance with any regulatory requirements in this state or any other jurisdiction.

(8) Whether at the time of application the applicant is a defendant in litigation involving its business practices.

(9) The applicant's ability to capitalize and conduct operations as proposed in its business plan, including business experience in related fields.

(10) The applicant's history of business activities as it applies to the specific license for which the applicant is seeking licensure.

(11) The proposed location of all proposed medical cannabis facilities as being suitable for all activities, not inconsistent with applicable zoning, and the applicant's ability to serve an identifiable geographic area.

(12) Whether the applicant meets other standards or requirements established under this article or by rules applicable to the license category.

(d) The commission shall review all applications for licenses and shall determine whether to grant or deny a license not more than 60 days after the date a license application was submitted, or if an applicant was notified of a deficiency under subsection (g) of Section 20-2A-55, the commission shall grant or deny a license not more than 60 days after the deficiency was corrected.

(e) After denial of a license, the commission, upon request, shall provide a public investigative hearing at which the applicant is given the opportunity to present testimony and evidence to establish its suitability for a license. Other testimony and evidence may be presented at the hearing, but the commission's decision must be based on the whole record before the commission and is not limited to testimony and evidence submitted at the public investigative hearing.

(f) Before issuing a license, the applicant shall pay the annual license fee, as established by the commission.

(g) A license shall be issued annually. Except as otherwise provided in this article, the commission shall renew a license if both of the following requirements are met:

(1) The licensee applies to the commission in a timely manner on a renewal form provided by the commission that requires information prescribed in rules and pays the annual license fee.

(2) The licensee meets the requirements of this article and any other renewal requirements set forth in the rules.

(h) If a license renewal application is not submitted by the license expiration date, the license may be renewed within 60 days after its expiration date upon application, payment of the annual license fee, and satisfaction of any renewal requirement and late fee set forth in rules. The licensee may continue to operate during the 60 days after the license expiration date if the license is renewed by the end of the 60-day period.

(i) License expiration does not terminate the commission's authority to impose sanctions on a licensee whose license has expired.

(j) A licensee shall consent in writing to inspections, examinations, searches, and seizures that are permitted under this article.

(k) An applicant or licensee has a continuing duty to provide information requested by the commission and to cooperate in any investigation, inquiry, or hearing conducted by the commission.

(Act 2021-450, §1.)