Are Alabama and Kentucky About to Legalize Medicinal Marijuana?

Alabama and Kentucky are each considering legislation that would legalize the use of medicinal marijuana, and polling shows that support for the issue has never been higher.

Alabama might be the next US state to legalize medicinal cannabis, after legislation authorizing it was approved by a legislative committee this week.

The bill was approved by an 8-1 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will pave the way for a full vote in the senate later this year.

If the bill manages to pass, then it will allow patients with qualifying medical conditions to be prescribed medicinal cannabis products.

This bill is not about getting high. This bill is about getting well. Colorado Healthcare Provider, Dr. Alan Shackelford

However, dried flower products that can been either smoked or vaped would be excluded from the legislation, which only allows for the use of gummies, oils, pills and topical medicines.

The legislation also allows for the establishment of a framework for the manufacture and distribution of cannabis, including authorization for the creation of up to 32 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.

Under the bill patients suffering from one of the 15 qualifying medical conditions—such as cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder—will be permitted to purchase up to a 70-day supply of cannabis products at a one time.

The initiative would also require the development of a seed-to-sale monitoring system for cannabis products, along with regulations regarding packaging, labelling and marketing.  

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At the same time, lawmakers in Kentucky are also weighing up the possibility of legalizing medicinal cannabis. And it looks like the majority of the state's residents agree.

A recent survey conducted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky discovered that nine out of ten adults living in the state are in favour of "allowing the purchase and use of marijuana for medical purposes if a doctor recommends it."

The poll also found that up to 49 percent of Kentuckians supported the legalization of marijuana for recreational services, while 59 percent are in favour of legalizing cannabis use under any circumstances.

While this may not seem that remarkable, it represents a massive shift compared to eight years ago, when only 26% of Kentucky residents supported the legalization of recreational marijuana.

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The news come at a time when the state is considering several marijuana reform initiatives, including a proposal from House Representative, Cluster Howard, who is pushing for the legalization of adult recreational use and the creation of a framework for regulating and taxing retail cannabis sales.

"Other states have shown that legalizing cannabis for adult use is a win-win situation for everyone involved," Howard said.

"It's a major revenue generator. It frees up critical jail and prison space. It helps counteract the deadly opioid epidemic. And it gives farmers a major new cash crop."

"The longer we wait, the more we miss out on these benefits."

Additionally, Republican leadership in the state house has committed to pushing forward House Bill 136—which would fully legalize medicinal marijuana—during the early 2020 legislative session.


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Hugo Gray
Hugo Gray

Hugo Gray is a Melbourne-based journalist with a body of work that covers a diverse range of topics, including immigration law, sex technology, and now the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

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