A bill to allow people with chronic pain and more than a dozen other conditions to seek relief with medical marijuana products is a step away from becoming law in Alabama.
The Legislature passed the bill by a two-to-one margin, with support from lawmakers in both parties. About 40% of Republican legislators voted against it.
The bill went to Gov. Kay Ivey, who could sign it into law.
Ivey said last week the 102-page bill was under review. Ivey commended the sponsors of the legislation and said she hoped to sign it.
Alabama would be the 37th state to allow medical marijuana. The bill is by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, a physician and medical researcher, and Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, who is retired from a career in law enforcement.
It would set up an intrastate system for businesses to grow, process, test, transport, and sell the products.
Attitudes have changed in eight years, since a medical marijuana bill was given the Shroud Award as the “deadest” bill in the House.
The law would be called the “Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act,” in recognition of the son of Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, whose death from AIDS inspired her to proposed medical marijuana more than a decade ago.
Who could use the products?
Patients would receive certification by a doctor to obtain a medical cannabis card for about 15 categories of conditions and symptoms:
Autism; cancer-related weight loss, or chronic pain; Crohn’s; depression; epilepsy or condition causing seizures; HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss; panic disorder; Parkinson’s; persistent nausea not related to pregnancy; PTSD; sickle cell; spasticity associated with diseases including ALS and multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries; terminal illnesses; Tourette’s; chronic pain for which conventional therapies and opiates should not be used or are ineffective.
The legislation says medical marijuana should not be the first option, but should be used “only