Alabama Senate Committee Advances Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis

A bill to legalize medical cannabis in Alabama has advanced from the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee.

Full story after the jump.

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee has passed a medical cannabis bill, picking up where they left off last year before the COVID-19 shut down, according to AL.com.

SB 46, known as the Compassionate Care Act, is essentially the same bill that passed the Senate last year and is sponsored by state Sen. Tim Melson (R), who has introduced medical cannabis bills for the last three years in Alabama. The bill would allow Alabamians with a select group of medical conditions to “register” for a medical cannabis card. The Act would set up an 11-member “Medical Cannabis Commission” that would oversee everything from seed to sale tracking, to registering patients and dispensing cannabis.

“It’s encouraging to see lawmakers making progress towards legalizing medical marijuana in Alabama,” Karen O’Keefe, state policies director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment. “It is morally wrong to continue to treat Alabamians who suffer from serious medical conditions as criminals for using a substance that is now legal in 36 states.”

Some of the provisions of the bill include sending 60 percent of the funds from a nine percent medical cannabis tax to the General Fund and 30 percent to studying the medical effectiveness of cannabis. Doctors would be required to take a four-hour continuing erducation course in order to recommend medical cannabis. Medical cannabis products would be limited to a narrow list, including capsules, lozenges, oils, suppositories, and topicals, eliminating all forms of edible and smokable/vapeable cannabis.

O’Keefe commented on the product restrictions: “We urge lawmakers to revise the provisions of the bill that create significant barriers for patients and their physicians.”

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