At first, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey did not commit to signing a medical cannabis bill when the state legislature passed the legislation by a roughly two-to-one ratio in both chambers May 6.
In a statement from Ivey’s office that night, Press Secretary Gina Maiola said the governor looked forward to thoroughly reviewing Senate Bill 46 and providing the diligence it deserves but did not say whether she would sign it.
The Republican executive provided her ink to the bill Monday, making Alabama unofficially the 36th medical cannabis state, joining the likes of nearby Arkansas, Florida and Louisiana, according to reform organization Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Mississippi dropped from the ranks of medical cannabis states after its Supreme Court ruled May 14 that Initiative 65 was unconstitutional.
When the Alabama Legislature passed its medical cannabis bill earlier this month, MPP Director of State Policies Karen O’Keefe said the legislation will allow seriously ill patients to finally get the relief they deserve and urged Ivey to sign it into law.
Ivey did just that Monday afternoon.
“I would like to thank Sen. Tim Melson and Rep. Mike Ball for their hard work over the last few years and their commitment to continue to work on this to ensure we have a productive, safe and responsible operation in Alabama,” Ivey said in a statement.
Medical cannabis legislation was first introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives two decades ago. Eight years ago, it was the laughingstock of the lower chamber. Now, a medical cannabis bill claimed supermajority support and the governor’s signature.
After a nearly 10-hour filibuster May 4, House lawmakers reconvened May 6 and considered several floor amendments before passing the Senate-originated bill, 68-34, which will allow registered patients diagnosed with qualifying conditions to access cannabis.