Patients suffering from a variety of serious ailments in Alabama are a step closer to accessing medical cannabis after a House Committee made several amendments to a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. The legislation, which has already passed the Senate, would allow qualifying patients to purchase and possess up to 70 daily doses of medical cannabis. Additionally, the bill would establish an Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission and task it with implementing industry legislations and issuing licenses.
Senator Tim Melson, who sponsored the bill, stated that giving patients access to medical cannabis could reduce the number of deaths caused by opioid overdose. To qualify for medical cannabis under the program, patients would have to be diagnosed with one of 20 qualifying conditions including intractable pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). As per one of the amendments, the daily dose will also be reduced to 50 milligrams, down from 75. According to Melson, however, the threshold can be increased to 75 milligrams under some circumstances.
The Alabama Senate initially passed the legislation in late February in a 21-to-8 vote. When it was introduced to the Senate, the bill allowed medical cannabis but prohibited smoking, vaping, raw cannabis, baked cannabis-infused products and candy. It also required cannabis products to have labels declaring that cannabis consumption could cause drowsiness. The state would tax medical cannabis sales at 9%, with the tax being used to cover the program’s implementation costs and then 60% of the remainder going to Alabama’s general fund and 30% being dedicated to medical cannabis research.
Additionally, patients, caregivers and medical cannabis providers would be given legal protections and would be safe from any sort of legal repercussions for producing, recommending, purchasing or consuming medical cannabis. Under the newly amended bill, only lawmakers would be able to add extra conditions to the list of qualifying medical conditions; from the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission would not be able to do so.
The House Committee made a total of 10 amendments and integrated them into a separate version of the bill adopted by the House panel. Additional amendments removed anxiety from the list of qualifying conditions and added depression and Parkinson’s disease. The cannabis tax revenue dedicated to medical cannabis research would also be reduced from 30% to 15%. Additionally, the lawmakers did away with provisions for providing out-of-state patients with reciprocity.
The medical cannabis legalization bill now awaits a floor vote in the House. If it passes, it will go back to the Senate for final considerations because of the last round of amendments before heading to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for her signature.
As residents of Alabama await the passing of the marijuana law being debated, they can at least access thousands of CBD-infused products made by companies such as The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER). These products include gummies, salves, tinctures, infused drinks and lotions.
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