Cannabis Law Prof Blog

Editor: Franklin G. Snyder
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Limited MMJ Bill Passes Alabama Senate

From the Montgomery Advertiser: Medical marijuana bill still alive:

    The [Alabama] Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved a bill that would authorize the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions.

    The bill, which passed on a 4 to 3 vote, would authorize the use of marijuana to treat at least 25 different conditions. Those using marijuana to treat health conditions would be required to carry an ID card and would face limits on how much they could purchase.

    Advocates of medical marijuana have for years introduced measures to bring medical marijuana to the state, but the efforts have generally failed to move out of committee.  The legislation will likely face long odds of passage in the full Senate. However, Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, the sponsor of the legislation, said it would give those suffering from illnesses an option.  Many medical marijuana supporters attended Wednesday's meeting.

    . . .

    The bill was opposed by Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, who said he had worked for a number of years with many children who had developed addiction issues.

    "I recognize you're talking about prescription-based (marijuana)," he said. "I have seen too many messed-up lives and seen the devastation that drugs, beginning with marijuana, cause for me to never feel good about this bill."

        . . .

    Singleton was optimistic about the bill's odds if it made the floor of the Senate. However, he said he was leaning toward converting the legislation into a constitutional amendment, which requires more votes to pass the Legislature and would ultimately put the decision on medical marijuana before the voters of the state.

    Under the bill, patients seeking marijuana to treat certain illnesses would have to submit to a medical evaluation that would include discussion of all possible treatments for their conditions. Conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana under the bill range from AIDS, cancer and Lou Gehrig's disease to migraines, fibromyalgia and severe nausea.

    The legislation would set up three classes of recommendation for the use of marijuana. Class I recommendations would allow a patient or caregiver to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana each month. Class II recommendations would allow the purchase of at least 5 ounces of marijuana each month, while those listed in Class III could purchase up to 10 ounces of marijuana a month.

    Those looking to use marijuana for treatment would have to apply for identification cards from county health departments, costing at least $100, though the fee could be reduced if the applicant participates in an education program. No ID card could be given without an evaluation from a physician declaring the patient has a serious medical condition where the use of marijuana for treatment would be "appropriate."

    The legislation would also authorize the creation of nonprofit cooperatives for the cultivation and distribution of marijuana. Cooperatives would be required to pay for licensing. A 2.5 percent sales tax would be imposed on all medical marijuana sales.

    "I'm not trying to be a new Colorado," Singleton said. "New money could made off this, but that's not my goal."

    Ron Crumpton, a medical marijuana advocate who attended the hearing, said medical marijuana could be used to help veterans treat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. He also said the use of marijuana could help those with chronic ailments better cope with their symptoms.

    "It helps you move on with it and live your life," he said.

    The House Judiciary Committee approved a medical marijuana bill in 2010. The committee's action came very late in the session, and the bill never came to a vote in the full chamber.

Legislation, Medical Marijuana, State Regulation | Permalink


Its a really sad argument that "Lives are destroyed by Marijuana" all the while completely ignoring what the Govt does to people that use this smelly plant. Tell me again how smoking this plant "destroys" a person life more than going to prison over it?

The GOP is the Party of Limited Govt yet they constantly push the failed drug war as a success and why they are licking the Fascist Democrats bunghole constantly.

It isnt that Democrats want Pot legal, they want to control the trade, while getting there beaks wet.

Neither Party want to end a lucrative drug trafficing trade. They want in on it is all.

Posted by: Despioser | May 3, 2015 9:27:48 AM

Everyone talks about addicts. But I know of no substance that is addictive. i.e. if you take it you have to keep taking it and there is no way out.

So what is "addiction" ?

People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers. And the pain? PTSD mostly.

Doesn't that make more sense than "addiction" ?

“If they can get you to ask the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.” – Thomas Pynchon.

Posted by: MSimon | May 3, 2015 7:06:49 PM

Update from Alabama: MMJ Bill likely dead for 2015

SB326, the bill offered up to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes, will likely not make it to the floor of the Alabama Senate for debate, and there is no corresponding legislation pending through the House of Representatives.

The bill is not being rejected due to ideologic or partisan opposition, but based on the fact that it is a very shoddy, incomplete, and confusing piece of legislation. Or as more succinctly put by Sen. J.T. Waggoner, chairman of the rules committee, which sets the agenda, "It's bad legislation".

While Sen. Waggoner has become the lightening rod for activist ire, and he could have been a bit more specific, he is correct. A majority of the legislators in Montgomery are not opposed to the medical use of cannabis, with direct evidence being the passage in 2014 of 'Carly's Law', which authorizes the use of cannabis derivatives for use in the treatment of children with severe seizures. What is special about "Carly's Law" was that it was concieved of and passed in one cycle, primarily due to the tireless efforts of Carly's very charismatic father, former Pelham Police Officer Dustin Chandler. The activists pushing the current legislation had virtually nothing to do with it, and Dustin is not involved with their current efforts. In sidebar discussions with Sen. Waggoner, he has directly stated that the problem isn't the cannabis itself - but the very poorly structured and written vehicle that activists gave to Singleton to introduce. That, in a nutshell, is the hang up.

Within the system here in Alabama, it -could- be amended, "on the fly", with good faith negotiations - but there is darn little faith, and virtually zero negotiation, to go along with a very full plate of contentious issues and a limited amount of time to deal with them. So, the clock is most likely to run out this year, with zero progress towards resolution before the Legislature adjourns.

I'm a proponent of not only providing for cannabis for medical treatment, I am a proponent of the complete decriminalization and normalization of regulation for cannabis - with controls to keep it out of the hands of minors at least as effective as the controls society places on alcohol and tobacco. And entering this one on the scorecard, well, I have to credit the activists that created this bill with basically an unforced error. They have completely mis-read, mis-handled, and alienated the very people they need support from if legislation is to ever pass the Alabama State House, by their partisan, parochial, and adversarial approach, for years. They have existed in an echo chamber of their own creation, and been completely closed to any inputs or advice from. . .well just about everyone. And it doesn't help that one of the 'leaders' (by attrition and persistence, mostly) is an aspirant to public office, hoping to round out his resume in his bid to unseat US Senator Shelby by being able to claim he brought legal cannabis to Alabama. I suspect he actually has a desire to lose an election by a larger margin than when he ran for state office, but...

In an atmosphere such as we actually have in Alabama, with a ripe, receptive legislative body, a probably compliant Governor (for Medical. Well done Medical), it is absolutely baffling why such a clunker was introduced, and infuriating to watch the proponents appear to do everything in their power to tick off the people they need support from. With a virtual catalog of actual working examples, at this point, from other states that have forged ahead, it is very bewildering that the folks pushing this bill didn't use those as guides, pick and choose, and come up with something acceptable to everyone (or at least enough to pass it), instead of attempting to re-invent the wheel, and coming up with something more reminiscent of the gnome business model than a serious, workable piece of legislation.

It is particularly disgusting that all the stars are aligning, and the ones actually screwing this up are the people that have been assuring a lot of folks "we got this, we're taking care of this" - don't, and aren't. The only scene yet to play out is the finger pointing and blame (by the activists) at everyone else for this most massive screw up.

Because for now, they embody why Alabama can't have nice things. Thanks, guys. Boneheads.

Posted by: Brad Hobbs | May 3, 2015 8:07:23 PM

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