In February a bill to legalize, regulate, and tax non-smokable medicinal cannabis passed through the Alabama Senate on a 21-10 vote. Progress on the bill slowed after moving to the House. The medical cannabis bill passed both House committees it was assigned to in April.
On Tuesday the medical cannabis bill was set to receive a final vote on the floor of the House. Earlier that day, the bill easily cleared two House procedural votes by a vote of 69-31 and 71-20, to allow the bill to be brought to the House floor for a final vote. However, a handful of House lawmakers filibustered the final vote through speaking objections on the House floor. On Thursday morning the medical cannabis bill was again back on the House floor for another day of debate. The morning session started off with gusto, as both supporters and detractors appeared ready to fight with amendments, counter-amendments and impassioned floor speeches filling the morning. Around 12:30 p.m. the House finally took a final vote on the medical cannabis bill, and it passed by a vote of 68-34. The medical cannabis bill will now head back to the Senate for concurrence or conference committee.
This is a historic day in Alabama politics, as this is by far the closest Alabama has come to passing a medical cannabis bill. Similar bills had previously passed through the Alabama Senate three times, in three separate sessions. This is the first time, however, a medical cannabis bill has come up for a full vote on the House floor – much less passed the House.
We will continue to monitor this bill as the Senate again takes it up for either concurrence or further consideration. That could happen as early as today, or it could be later this month.
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