Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Study Commission met for the first time last week to decide if medical cannabis would be good for the state.
The 15-member panel, consisting of law enforcement officials, farmers and medical professionals, was born out of a bill to legalize medical cannabis in Alabama earlier this year. State lawmakers changed a bill that would have legalized medical cannabis to appoint a commission to study the issue instead. Nearly three months later, the commission met in Montgomery to listen to medical cannabis policies in other states, as well as appeals from advocates.
“I think the patients see a need for it. It’s shown to be medically indicated in some conditions. We need to be careful. We have an opioid problem now. We don’t need to create a medical marijuana problem also,” said Oncologist Dr. Steven Stokes.
The commission is tasked with holding at least three public hearings to talk to patients and families that may benefit from legalizing medical cannabis. Key issues considered would be who is qualified and how will they be registered, how medical cannabis is grown, processed, labeled, and transported, and product safety inspections. The commission should be ready to file legislation for the 2020 session in December.
“The purpose is to discuss and flesh out medical cannabis in a way that we can come up with a bill that can provide medical cannabis to those who need it and keep it out of the hands of those who don’t,” said Sen. Tim Melson, who sponsored the bill that created the commission.
CBD has been available for purchase in Alabama ever since the 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD from the Controlled Substances List. Earlier this year, Alabama approved 180 licenses to grow and process hemp in the state.