On Thursday, 6th May 6th, the Alabama House passed an amended form of the medical marijuana bill initially presented in January and will head to the Governor's desk for signing. Lawmakers all across the United States have been going head over heels to legalize cannabis in their states. There has been promising progress in this regard. The past week, the Minnesota Cannabis Legalization Bill was passed through ten House Committees, while the Texas bill also passed the House Committees.
Following their footsteps, the legislators in Alabama also put their right foot forward. Recently, Alabama became the 39th overall state to make medicinal cannabis legal. Although the legalization has been a fairly restricted one, it is indeed a step in the right direction.
The House passed the Alabama Compassionate Act by a vote of 68 to 34. Winning by about double the vote count elicits the increasing acceptance towards cannabis usage.
Likewise, Senate Bill 46, the Alabama Compassionate Act, was previously approved by the Senate in February. Also, the bill was approved by a vote of greater than twice the majority, 21-8.
The House made slight amendments to the bill to make it more beneficial as per their opinion. They reduced the legal amount of cannabis to be sold, and they made the qualification to be considered a recipient more strict.
Senator Tim Melson, who initially proposed the bill, was not bothered too much by the amendments reported by a House lawmaker. There were minor differences in the initially proposed legislation and the final approved bill.
If the bill is approved by the Senate, which it most probably will be, Alabama will become the third state after Mississippi and Louisiana to make medicinal marijuana legal in the Deep South. Federally, there is a strict restriction for the usage of medical cannabis. Cannabis can only be used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy.
However, after the Alabama Compassionate Act is passed, the locals would be legally allowed to purchase, store, and use cannabis as per their official doctors’ prescription. Additionally, cannabis will be regulated under the recommended dosage only. Any extra purchase or consumption, if reported, would result in a state offense.
The Act elicits a restricted number of patient qualification conditions to whom cannabis can be administered as a drug. Moreover, the legislation will also create a limited number of licenses in Alabama. Only those legally allowed will be able to prescribe and sell medicinal cannabis.
Besides, the bill currently allows the formation of four cultivation companies, testing labs, transporters, four processing companies, and a total of 16 dispensaries.
In addition, Whitt Steineker, co-chairman of the Bradley law firm, stated that the law is not a perfect one, and there is room for improvement after considering some points.