Alabama Introduces the Medical Marijuana Patient Safe Access Act

Known as Senate Bill 326, the Medical Marijuana Patient Safe Access Act was first read on April 4, 2015, by the Alabama Senate. The bill was passed on a 4 to 3 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee. A full Senate vote will be the next step.

Senate Bill 326 would allow patients with specific medical conditions, diagnosed by a doctor, to possess up to 10 ounces of Marijuana. It would also allow them the ability to purchase Marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries. Conditions like Cancer, AIDS, Chronic Pain, Glaucoma, Parkinson’s Disease, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Migraines, Fibromyalgia, ADD/ADHD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Autism and Anorexia, along with other conditions to a total number of 25, would qualify for this ability.

This builds on a law passed last year, SB 174, which allows patients suffering from epilepsy a legal defense for having low THC Cannabis extractions, as long as they have a recommendation from the physician.

Senate Bill 326, however, may be in some trouble. Senator Jabo Waggoner, who oversees the Rules Committee and who has been a driving force in the Senate for almost five decades, does not see a need for this particular piece of legislation. He considers it “bad legislation” and says he will not schedule the bill, or any bill of this type, for debate this year or even next year.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Bobby Singleton, is not overly surprised by the roadblock. His hope was to see the bill reach the Senate floor and give him a chance to plead a case for the bill. Since 23 other states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation legalizing medical Cannabis, this would be a great time for a discussion of the possibility for the state of Alabama. Indeed, Alabama’s bill was impressive in its scope and detail for creating a statewide medical marijuana program, allowing physicians the authority to determine the severity of a condition on a patient-by-patient basis and prescribe the appropriate amount of medical Cannabis to help the patient deal with their issues.

The amount of Cannabis prescribed could range from 2.5 ounces per month to as much as 10 ounces per month. This would be a great move forward for the state of Alabama, but the bill might be a bit early for those in the Senate to approve.

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