Alabama Sen. Tim Melson introduced a measure to legalize medical cannabis in the state. If the measure is passed, Alabama would become the 34th state to legalize cannabis for medical use. If approved, the bill would become law immediately after receiving the governor’s signature.
Last year, Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Study Commission met for the first time to discuss whether legal medical cannabis would be good for the state. The bill draft was approved by the commission, which was headed by Melson. The Commission ran from August to December and in their report, they recommended prohibitions on smoking, edibles that could be enticing to children and seed-to-sale tracking.
Under the proposed bill, medical cannabis would be available for anyone over the age of 19 who is certified by a physician as having a qualifying medical condition. Patients suffering from several listed conditions, such as seizures, anxiety, autism, nausea and post-traumatic stress disorder can all qualify for a medical cannabis card. Patients suffering from other conditions that aren’t listed can appeal to a board for special consideration.
Melson’s bill would also impose tight controls on cultivating and selling medical cannabis. Inventory and medical cannabis cardholders would be tracked electronically. The tax rate would be set at nine percent, with some of the proceeds going back to the operation of the program. A special account would also be created for the Medical Cannabis Research Fund. Melson believes no other state has legislation written as tightly to regulate the industry as Alabama, but he understands there will still be people opposed to legalizing.
“It’s going to be a tight rope for a while,” Melson said. “But again, 34th state. We’re not hearing major problems in other states. I’m sure they’re popping up here and there. We hadn’t heard about them but I think they’re more isolated than a general trend.”