Today, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission will vote on whether or not to recommend legislation that would legalize marijuana for persons with diagnosed medical conditions.
The proposed bill would allow farmers to grow marijuana, doctors to prescribe marijuana for certain listed conditions, transporters to transport the product, and dispensaries to sell the product.
In the last draft of the bill that the Alabama Political Reporter has seen, the licenses for growers, prescribers, transporters, processors, and dispensaries would be issued by a new state agency, the Alabama Medical Cannabis agency.
The product would be taxed at nine percent and the commission would strictly regulate the product from planting to sell so that all product would be accounted for.
The draft did not allow for a smokable products. There also have been concerns about edible products such as marijuana gummies and brownies. Cannabis in a pill form would be allowed; but would be tightly regulated.
The Alabama Policy Institute’s former State Senator Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) has raised a number of concerns about the bill, including that it grows government and taxes a medicine while goes around the FDA process for approving new medications.
The Executive Director of the Alabama Cannabis Industry Association Chey Gerrigan told the Alabama Political Reporter that they support the legislation.
“We support helping persons in need,” Garrigan said emphasizing marijuana’s purported benefits for persons suffering from cancer, seizures, chronic pain, PTSD, depression, opioid dependency and other conditions.
The Commission heard from medical experts who claimed that the plant has tremendous medical benefits as well as from experts who said that there was not yet enough research.
The Commission is chaired by State Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence). Melson is a physician who introduced medical marijuana legislation last year.
That bill passed the state Senate; but got bogged down in committee in the House.
The commission members will vote by email.
Whether or not the state passes a medical marijuana bill will be decided in the Alabama legislature next year.
Melson promises to introduce medical cannabis legislation in the 2020 session, whether or not the commission approves of the final draft legislation today.