July 22, 2024

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Alabama medical marijuana bill faces key hurdle

3 min read

A bill to legalize and regulate medical marijuana products in Alabama faces an important vote in the House Justice Committee this week.

Approval by the committee is one of several steps that are required make Alabama the 37th state allow medical marijuana.

Legislation from Senator Tim Melson, a Republican, doctor, and medical researcher from Florence would allow doctors to approve the use of medicinal cannabis products for a variety of symptoms and conditions, including anxiety, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and cancer. related nausea and weight loss, PTSD and others.

The bill would create an Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission that would license and regulate everything from growing the plants to the pharmacies that sell tablets, capsules, gel cubes, oils, and other products. The bill would not allow smoking of marijuana or products that could be smoked or vaped, or foods with mixed in marijuana such as cookies or candy.

The bill would introduce a tax on the sale of the products and royalties to cover the cost of the regulations.

In February, The Senate approved Melson’s bill for the third year in a row. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic limited the options for thought. But it never happened to the house.

In 2019 the house changed the legislation to appoint a study commission, instead of approving medical marijuana. The commission held several public meetings and issued a report in December 2019. Twelve of the 18 members recommended laws to approve medical cannabis.

House spokesman Mac McCutcheon said in February The house would take an extra step before the vote on the medical marijuana bill. If the bill is approved by the Justice Committee, it will be passed on to the Health Committee before it comes to the House for a vote. Bills usually only go through a committee.

Melson is optimistic that his bill will get committee approval on Wednesday. He said Alabamians should have the opportunity to try medicinal cannabis products for certain symptoms that other drugs don’t relieve.

“I just think that there are just a lot of patients in the state who have tried other things with mixed results or to no avail, and we should give them the opportunity to try this if there is literature or a doctor who believes that it is a good and responsible way of dealing with it, ”Melson said.

Melson said he did medical research for nearly 30 years. He said he was initially skeptical about medical marijuana until he began researching it about four years ago.

“I never thought I was a believer until I started listening to patients and family members and reading the literature,” Melson said. “And I think it does very well in a subset of patients.”

Senator Larry Stutts, a gynecologist and one of the most outspoken opponents of the legislation, said lawmakers should not apply the term “medical” to products that have not gone through the normal drug process. Stutts said the list of conditions that doctors might recommend it for is so wide that it would lead to an increase in recreational marijuana.

Melson said he was against recreational use.

Legislators will return from the spring break on Tuesday.