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Sponsor says that medical marijuana bill will likely not get out of committee

State Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, took three minutes for a point of personal privilege and then 10 minutes during the consideration of the House Special Order Calendar to voice his sponsorship of medical marijuana legislation on Tuesday.

Ball said he was at a function and was addressed as “Marijuana Mike” by a state senator who was also a doctor.

Ball said he felt the same way about the issue several years ago.

“Before 2013, I was a partisan political dog fighter, but this issue changed me,” Ball said. “In 2012, State Rep. K.L. Brown, R-Jacksonville carried this legislation, and I was shocked that a Republican would carry a marijuana bill. After 1970, Republicans did not do that. I asked him why, and K.L. said in a dead-pan way, ‘Because it is the right thing to do.’”

Ball said the Lord had picked him to carry the mantle in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

“Compassion is not a weakness; it is a strength,” Ball said. “That guy that taunted me that other night is me back then.”

Ball said he has learned more information since then, and through his work, he passed Carly’s Law through the Legislature.

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Carly’s Law allowed cannabidiol oil to be given to select severe epileptic children as part of a UAB trial. Cannabidiol oil became legal in Alabama just last year.

“We have brought a bill that is not on the special order calendar,” Ball said. “It has not even made it out of committee, and quite frankly, I don’t think it will.”

The State Senate passed State Sen. Tim Melson’s, R-Florence, bill to allow a person with certain listed medical conditions to legally obtain marijuana with the consent of a physician.

Critics of medical marijuana legislation point out that the Alabama Legislature has done no independent research on marijuana and that the federal Food and Drug Administration is the legal authority on approving medical treatments, not the Alabama Legislature.

That legislation, however, has not been given a favorable report by the House committee to allow it to be brought to the floor of the House for consideration.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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