Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed the state’s medical cannabis legalization bill into law on Monday, making Alabama the 37th state to legalize cannabis access for qualified patients, WVTM 13 reports.
The program will let patients access “tablets, capsules, tinctures, or gel cubes for oral use; gels, oils or creams for topical use, or suppositories, transdermal patches, nebulizers, or liquids or oils for use in an inhaler” — the rules do not allow for the smoking or vaping of medical cannabis products. Patient possession will be limited to up to “70 daily dosages” of medical cannabis.
Doctors who wish to certify patients for the program will have to complete a four-hour continuing education course on medical cannabis and pass an exam demonstrating their expertise. The course could cost up to $500 and a two-hour refresher will be required every two years. Additionally, the law requires doctors to specify daily dosages and product type — however, federal law prohibits doctors from prescribing (but not recommending) cannabis and the provision could dramatically reduce doctor participation if not addressed.
“Signing SB 46 is an important first step,” Gov. Ivey said after signing the bill. “This is certainly a sensitive and emotional issue and something that is continually being studied. On the state level, we have had a study group that has looked closely at this issue, and I am interested in the potential good medical cannabis can have for those with chronic illnesses or what it can do to improve the quality of life of those in their final days.”
NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf said in a press release the signing was “an important first step for Alabamans” but that the program is “limited in its ability to sufficiently address the real-world needs of patients.”
“That said, this law begins the process of providing Alabamans, for the first time, with a safe, legal, and consistent source of medicine. In the coming months and years, we anticipate and hope that lawmakers will continue to expand this access in a manner that puts patients’ interest first.” — Wolf, in a press release
Under the law, medical cannabis patients who are 18 or younger will need their parent or guardian to acquire the cannabis for them.
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