The Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission held its fourth and final meeting in Montgomery on November 7. As in the previous meetings, the meeting was organized around presentations from individuals representing different aspects of the law enforcement, business, and medical communities.
Following the presentations, the commission chair, Sen. Tim Melson, introduced a draft bill to the commission members, while noting that the draft in its current state is not as detailed as the version that will be introduced on December 1. The commission is scheduled to spend the next couple of weeks refining the draft bill to make it as Sen. Melson explained, “[a] bill that gives medical cannabis to the people who need it and keep it out of the hands of those who don’t.”
As has become customary at commission meetings, the commission discussed several topics that need to be hammered out before the bill is proposed. First, Sen. Melson noted that there needs to be a system in place – similar to the current one for prescription medication – that would prohibit medical cannabis cardholders from acquiring the product from multiple providers under one prescription. Second, further discussions are necessary regarding advertising and the extent to which physicians and providers will be able to advertise their services and products. Lastly, there should be a prescription dosage amount that will effectively balance the necessary medical benefits with the concerns about intoxication expressed by employers and law enforcement officials.
Supporters of medical cannabis in Alabama should take this meeting, as well as the previous meetings, as a positive sign that the commission is striving to bring medical cannabis to the people of Alabama. Sen. Melson has remained steadfast in his support for the passage of a medical cannabis bill. As the meetings have progressed, other committee members appear and sound more supportive of some type of medical cannabis regime in Alabama. Whether the bill ultimately becomes law, however, is up to the legislature and the governor.
There are currently no more study commission meetings set to take place before the bill is proposed on December 1. If this agenda changes, we plan to attend and report on the commission’s next steps. We will, of course, make the legislation available (with our analysis) shortly after it is released.
Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or would like any additional information at this time.