A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Alabama cleared yet another hurdle late last week when it passed the Alabama Senate by a vote of 22 to 11. The bill now heads to the Alabama House, where it likely faces steeper opposition than in the Senate.
The medical marijuana bill passed by the Senate, SB165, provides a regulatory framework similar to that imposed by other states’ legislation. For a more detailed description of the bill, please see our previous articles here and here. The version of SB165 the Senate passed differs from the version that was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in several key ways:
- Applicants for cultivation and processing licenses must have worked full time in either commercial horticulture or agronomic production for the eight years preceding their application;
- 20-25% of all licenses granted by the Medical Cannabis Commission must be awarded to minority-owned businesses;
- The power to add qualifying conditions now rests solely with the state legislature — all rule-making power in this area previously granted to the Medical Cannabis Commission is revoked;
- Menopause and premenstrual syndrome are added as qualifying conditions; and
- A consumption cap of 75mg a day for all users is imposed, and the bill restricts minors’ consumption to cannabis containing a maximum of 3% THC.
We will continue to monitor SB165 as it is considered by the Alabama House. If you have questions about the status of this legislation or the rapidly changing legal landscape for marijuana in Alabama or across the United States, you should contact an attorney with experience in this emerging area of law.