Restrictive Medical Cannabis Bill Goes Into Force in Alabama
Introducing its medical marijuana legislation, Alabama became the 37th state in the U.S. that has some form of medical marijuana law.
Something is better than nothing. Alabama joins the majority of U.S. states where medical marijuana is legal to buy after governor signs bill into law. The legislation is designed to enable everyone who has a qualifying medical condition to acquire weed after getting a consultation with a doctor.
The people of Alabama can now consider cannabis medicine for some twenty diseases that the state finds eligible for cannabis treatment. The list of diseases includes conditions such as depression, autism spectrum disorder, Crohn's disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and relatable medical conditions.
Purchasing medical cannabis to treat any of these conditions will require patients to own a medical cannabis card. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey officially kicked her state's medical marijuana era by signing the legalization bill on May 17, 2021. The governor then used Twitter to thank lawmakers who pushed forward the bill "for their hard work over the last few years & their commitment to continue to work on this to ensure we have a productive, safe & responsible in AL." A previous vote in favor of medical marijuana 68-35 took place in Alabama's state House, while in February, the state Senate passed the bill by a 20-10 vote. Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth (R) expressed support for the cannabis reform in the state, calling on lawmakers to send the bill to the governor ahead of their final votes.
"I support legalizing medical marijuana to help those with cancer and other serious medical issues ease their pain. The majority of the medical community agrees. The Alabama House should pass this important bill before the session ends," Ainsworth tweeted.
A restrictive medical marijuana bill is precisely what lawmakers sent to the governor. Governor Ivey, who hasn't been particularly spoken on the matter of cannabis, has on a previous occasion — concerning a medical cannabis legalization bill in 2019 — said, "I'm still trying to get the details, but if it's tightly controlled and limited to just those illnesses as verified by medical professionals, it'd be worth considering."
Under the legislation, medical users in the state can acquire medical pot in the form of oral tablets, topical preparations, liquid for inhalers, and other similar products. Weed in the form of any product that requires it to be smoked, combusted, or vaped remains illegal under Alabama law, as are edibles and raw plants.
As the regulation further clarifies, for physicians to be eligible to recommend cannabis to medical users, they would need to complete a four-hour continuing education course and pass a state exam. It would cost at least $500 to take the exam, and doctors would also be required to take refresher classes every second year. Introducing its medical marijuana legislation, Alabama became the 37th state in the U.S. that has some form of medical marijuana law. Earlier this year, Virginia became the first Southern state to legalize recreational weed possession in most cases.