Alabama Gears up for Medical Marijuana Legalization

Alabama could become the 37th U.S. state to legalize medical cannabis, as Senate Bill 46 awaits a signature from the Governor of the state.

After being approved by both the Alabama House and Senate last week, the medical marijuana legalization bill known as Senate Bill (SB) 46, awaits the approval of Governor Kay Ivey to be signed into law.

Should Governor Ivey sign the bill, Alabama would become the 37th state in the U.S. to have legalized the use of medical cannabis for a range of qualifying conditions.

The bill has stipulated 16 medical conditions that would qualify a patient for a medical marijuana card, including Crohn's disease, epilepsy, depression, PTSD, and treatment-resistant chronic pain.

The bill also stipulates that the only cannabis form factors that would become legal should the bill be signed into law would be non-smokable products such as foods, oils, patches, tablets and other forms that are ingested orally.

Should the bill be signed, an Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission would be established in order to regulate the industry and licensing for dispensaries, and 15 percent of all tax revenue from medical cannabis would be used to further cannabis research.

It's unclear whether Governor Ivey will veto the bill or sign it into law, as she has only mentioned that she is "look[ing] forward to thoroughly reviewing it."

However, if Governor Ivey does sign the bill, medical cannabis would become legal in Alabama immediately, and Alabamans would gain access to an additional form of medicine for their medical conditions.

A poll undertaken by the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that of 450 physicians surveyed, almost 70% agreed with the legalization of medical cannabis use following the recommendation of a medical provider.

Moreover, polling more broadly shows that fewer than one in ten Americans believe all forms of cannabis should be illegal, highlighting the growing public acceptance of the plant for medical and recreational purposes.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.