By LeeWEpstein

December 31, 2019

A commission in the state of Alabama, one of the last states in the United States that does not have a medical cannabis program and has not decriminalized cannabis, recommends legalizing it. Republican Senator Tim Melson, who chaired the committee, will introduce a bill before the Senate in February 2020.

2/3 support in the commission

Before voting in favor of a proposal to legalize medical cannabis by 12 votes to 6, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission issued a report on its discussions and conclusions. The report states that although the opinions of committee members were mixed and diverse, there was a broad consensus that hemp and cannabis can “significantly relieve the symptoms of specific medical conditions”.

Despite divided opinions on the medical efficacy of cannabis. But, the committee had difficulty in finding common ground on the issue of the legislation itself. Opponents of legalization efforts have raised several concerns, including concerns about the use of cannabis at work, driving under the influence of cannabis, fears about underage use and cannabis-related disorders.

Just 3 members of the study committee voted against the recommendation to pursue a draft law on therapeutic cannabis, besides 3 others abstaining and 12 votings in favor.

Failure in 2019 & the transition to 2020?

In fact , Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Review Commission was created after SB236, led by the same Senator Melson, failed to pass the House of Representatives in 2019. The bill, passed by the Senate, would have launched the state’s medical cannabis program. But the only part of the bill authorized by the House was the creation of the Commission.

So, in its report, the Commission defines several objectives of the bill and focuses on restrictions. For example, it recommends banning medical cannabis in smokable form or edible products that look like candy. It also recommends several measures to prevent the diversion of cannabis products or to certify and train doctors.

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