Alabama Senate Approves Medical Cannabis Bill

The Alabama Senate has voted 17-6 to advance a bill that would permit medical cannabis possession and use by qualified patients and extend Carly’s Law to January 1, 2021.

In 2014, former governor, Robert Bentley signed Carly’s Law which allowed epileptic patients to use CBD and facilitated cannabis research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, but the law expires on July 1, 2019.

Current state law permits qualified patients to use cannabis extracts as long as the THC content is less than 3 percent.

Under the new bill, SB236, patients and designated caregivers would be able to register and obtain a card authorizing medical cannabis possession and use.

The bill would establish the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) which would be responsible for duties related to the regulation and enforcement of a medical cannabis program including creating a registry for patients with qualifying conditions and maintaining licensing and regulation systems for cultivation, processing, transportation, and sale.

SB236 lists more than thirty qualifying conditions including Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, and depression, with the option for AMCC to approve more.

For patients of medical marijuana programs in other states, SB236 would also offer reciprocity, granting visitors temporary access to dispensaries in Alabama under rules established by AMCC.

With final approval in the Senate, SB236 advanced to the House of Representatives where it received its first reading on Thursday before being referred to the committee on Health.