Medical Cannabis Bill Introduced in Alabama

Legislation to legalize medical cannabis is expected to be introduced today in the Alabama state Senate; the bill is based on a proposal approved by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission.

Full story after the jump.

Alabama State Senator Tim Melson (R) is expected to introduce a measure today to legalize medical cannabis in the state, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. The bill draft is based on one approved by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission, which was chaired by Melson, who is also an anesthesiologist.

That commission, approved last year by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, ran from August to December. In the Medical Cannabis Study Commission report, the commission recommended program prohibitions on smoking, edibles that could entice children, and seed-to-sale tracking. The proposals outlined in the report were approved by 12 of the 18 members with three in opposition and three abstaining. Those who opposed cited concerns over federal law conflicts, potential workplace and employment issues, drugged driving, and fears about recreational cannabis legalization.

During a commission meeting in September, Stephen Taylor, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and addiction psychiatrist, said that the state should not be calling cannabis “medical,” arguing that “if it hasn’t been validated as medicine,” it shouldn’t be called “medical marijuana or medical cannabis.”

According to the Political Reporter, the measure proposed by Melson would allow the state’s farmers to cultivate medical cannabis to be sold through dispensaries to registered patients. The bill would also license processors and transporters.

It does not allow for home-grows and would impose a tax on sales which would be used to fund a Medical Marijuana Commission.

Last year, the state Senate approved a medical cannabis bill that included 33 qualifying conditions but it did not receive any support in the House and was never voted on by the chamber. Rep. Mike Ball (R), who introduced last year’s measure in the House to the Political Reporter that he wasn’t sure he would sponsor the bill this session because he is focused on improving the state’s legislative ethics laws.

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