Medical Marijuana Bill Approved by Alabama Committee
The Alabama Senate committee has approved a bill legalizing medical marijuana after Sen. Tim Melson introduced the legislation. Under the bill, people with qualifying conditions will be allowed to purchase cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
The bill is now on its way to the full chamber. Melson has already sponsored a bill of this kind last year. However, even though the full Senate approved this bill, it didn’t have a bright future without a House vote during the coronavirus outbreak.
This year’s bill is supposed to establish an Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission of 11 members, whose job would be to implement the necessary regulations and oversee licensing.
If diagnosed with one of about 20 conditions, patients with anxiety, sleep disorders and intractable pain, among others, can qualify for the program.
Even though the advocates are happy with the medical cannabis reform advancing in Alabama, they are still somewhat concerned about certain aspects of the bill.
For instance, patients who suffer from chronic or intractable pain couldn’t access medical marijuana unless “conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or has proved ineffective.”
Patients wouldn’t be allowed to smoke and vape cannabis or consume it in candy or baked good products. Instead, they could only purchase capsules, oils, suppositories, lozenges, and topical patches.
Under the bill, the patients wouldn’t be allowed to possess more than 70 daily dosages of medical cannabis, whereas a dose shouldn’t exceed 75 milligrams.
The bill also states that for a physician to recommend cannabis, he has to pass an exam after completing a four-hour continuing education course. Every two years, the doctors would be obliged to take refresher classes.
Regulators should develop restrictions and set quality control standards. In the beginning, the commissions should approve at least four cultivators, no more than four processors, four dispensaries, and five vertically integrated operators.
With the medical cannabis reform initiative approved in the neighboring Mississippi and across the country, the legislature could quickly enact the legalization.