Alabama Legislature approves bill to establish a medical cannabis commission

The latest version of the bill approved by the House Health Committee would launch a Medicaid Cannabis Study Commission made up of 15 members

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Alabama Legislature approves bill to establish a medical cannabis commission

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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On May 31, the Alabama Legislature approved a medical cannabis bill that would establish a commission comprising a team of lawyers, doctors and healthcare professionals.

The approved bill is a slightly toned down version of a previous bill that would have legalized the cannabis plant for medical purposes. Lawmakers in the Senate passed the earlier bill, but it fell flat when it was put forward in the House.

Governor Kay Ivey will now decide whether or not to sign the revised version of Alabama’s medical cannabis bill into law. Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, believes that the inauguration of a commission could pave the way for legalization.

https://www.ecosia.org/images?q=Sen.+Tim+Melson%2C+R-Florence#id=F65E418584482C82C8ACBF4B19E2E34B8A7D7973

(Pictured) Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence

“It’s a big step and everybody is stepping out of their comfort zone,” expressed Melson, who is a qualified anesthesiologist and medical researcher. “You’re asking for a Schedule 1 drug to be given to patients. And it’s the same drug that’s been enjoyed and abused by people throughout the years, centuries and centuries.”

R-Florence favored the previous version of Alabama’s medical cannabis bill

The revised version of Alabama’s medical cannabis bill would have allowed doctors to prescribe patients with medical cannabis for a long list of conditions.

Examples of the qualifying conditions include chronic pain, cancer, glaucoma, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), multiple sclerosis (MS), HIV/AIDS and various neurological disorders.

This earlier version of the bill is the one that R-Florence would have rather flown through the Alabama Legislature. If it had been given the green light, the law would have seen a commission provide oversight for the establishment of a patient registry program, as well as for the distribution of medical cannabis cards.

UAB researchers could continue research into CBD for epilepsy if bill passes

A major benefit of the Senate-approved bill is that it extends Carly’s Law for another year; a segment of the bill that grants researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) an opportunity to continue studying the benefits of using CBD (cannabidiol) as a treatment for epilepsy.

CBD is the cannabis plant’s primary non-psychoactive cannabinoid and it is being prescribed as a treatment for relieving the symptoms of epilepsy – such as seizures – in a number of the 33 U.S. States that have legalized medical cannabis so far. Carly’s Law will now remain valid until July 2020.

Alabama’s medical cannabis bill would establish Medicaid Cannabis Study Commission

The latest version of the bill approved by the House Health Committee would launch a Medicaid Cannabis Study Commission made up of 15 members; primarily doctors of oncology, neurology, palliative care, pediatric neurology and pain management.

Attorney General Steve Marshall would appoint a defense, district and employment law attorney for the commission, which would be responsible for hosting public hearings on federal cannabis regulation and statewide cannabis laws.

December 1 is the deadline date by which the commission would be required to submit its findings.