Legislation to legalize medical cannabis is expected to be introduced today in the Alabama state Senate; the bill is based on a proposal approved by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission.
Alabama State Senator Tim Melson (R) is expected to introduce a measure today to legalize medical cannabis in the state, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. The bill draft is based on one approved by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission, which was chaired by Melson, who is also an anesthesiologist.
Melson’s bill is based on a draft that was approved by the Alabama Medicial Cannabis Study Commission which from August to December to study the issue of medical marijuana. Melson chaired that commission.
The bill would not allow for recreational marijuana. It is strictly limited to people with a diagnosed medical need, who have it prescribed by a healthcare provider.
The bill would allow farmers to obtain a medical marijuana growing license. There would be no farm to consumer sales and no legalization of home grown for personal use. The state would also license processors, transporters, and dispensaries. There would be strict control of inventory from the farm to the consumer. The medical marijuana would be taxed and the taxes used to fund a Medical Marijuana Commission which would regulate the cannabis industry in the state.
Opponent argue that medical marijuana is not legal under federal law and that medical marijuana eventually leads to the legalization of recreational marijuana. Senator Melson counters with the warning that if the state does not act and the federal government does then the state could face the same situation that it did with hemp. There the federal government legalized industrial hemp in the Farm Bill. Suddenly cannabidiol was legal and stores popped up all over the state selling CBD was being sold to stores with no regulation, licensing, and no input from the healthcare community. Melson supports de-scheduling marijuana at the federal level; but warned that the state needs to put medical cannabis regulations in place for that eventuality.