Medical Hashish Invoice Approves Alabama Senate Committee


The Associated Press February 19, 2020

Alabama is making progress in legalizing medical marijuana. (allard1 / AdobeStock)

A medical cannabis legalization law passed its first hurdle in Alabama legislation Thursday, giving hope to advocates after years of setbacks.

Spectators applauded when the Senate Justice Committee voted 8-1 for the bill and later reconciled it for a Senate vote later that session.

Republican Senator Tim Melson's bill would allow people to prescribe medical marijuana for 15 diseases such as cancer, anxiety, and chronic pain, and to buy cannabis products from a licensed pharmacy. The bill would allow marijuana in forms such as pills, gelatinous cubes, oils, skin patches, gels, and creams, but not products that are consumed by smoking or vaping.

Lawyers pressed for a public hearing at the Alabama Statehouse to follow the debate and tell their stories to lawmakers.

“This calculation is not about getting high. This bill is about getting well, ”said Dr. Alan Shackelford, a Colorado doctor who described the success of using medical marijuana in people with seizures and cancer.

Christi Cain said that her son Hardy's debilitating fits were helped by the now legal CBD oil in Alabama, but said the higher doses that could help him are not legal in the state.

"An area code shouldn't affect a person's health care. If Hardy didn't live in Alabama, he could be seizure-free. We shouldn't have to and shouldn't be medical refugees," said Cain.

The draft law met with opposition from some law enforcement and conservative groups. They expressed concerns about dosage, safety and the potential for abuse.

"Just because we put the word" medical "in front of marijuana, it's not medicine," said Clay Hammac, captain of the Shelby County sheriff.

Pastor Rick Hagans described addicts he had buried. He said that while they obviously didn't overdose marijuana, they started using drugs in a pot.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall sent a letter to the legislature expressing his opposition and stating that federal marijuana was still illegal.

Proponents of medical marijuana have made little progress in Montgomery in years.

A bill for medical marijuana from 2013 won the so-called "shroud price" for the "deadliest" bill this year in the House of Representatives. A draft law clarified the Alabama Senate last year, but the idea remains skeptical in the House of Representatives.

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