The Alabama Senate last week approved a proposal to legalize medical cannabis for certain medical conditions by 22 votes to 11.
The bill is led by Republican Senator Tim Melson, chairman of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission. A similar bill failed last year.
There could have been more organized efforts to slow it down, and I appreciate that it didn’t. Melson said after the vote. We tried to take into account very serious situations. I don’t take this bill lightly. It’s a big step for Alabama, and there’s a long way to go.
Last December, the Commission voted 12 to 6 in favor of the bill. Following this recommendation, Tim Melson introduced a bill to legalize medical cannabis, making Alabama the 34th state to take such a step. Melson’s proposal would create another commission, which would be responsible for establishing and administering a patient registration system, issuing medical cannabis cards, issuing licenses for cultivation, processing, distribution and transportation, and testing of cannabis. The commission would also be responsible for regulating the activities of licensees and the medical cannabis program in the State.
The bill proposes that patients aged 19 and over suffering from anxiety or panic disorder, autism, cancer-related wasting, nausea or vomiting, weight loss or chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, and HIV/AIDS, among other conditions, would be eligible for a medical prescription of cannabis.
Last year, the bill was also passed by the Senate before failing in the House of Representatives. After last Thursday’s vote in the Senate, the bill now continues its journey to the House of Representatives. Its president, also a Republican, “expressed his mistrust of the legislation” and did not commit to the new bill, but did not “list specific concerns”.
Cannabis is also not decriminalized in Alabama despite numerous attempts, making it one of the most conservative states on the subject in the United States.