Alabama’s Senate Bill 326 “Medical Marijuana Patient Safe Access Act” survived the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 4-3 vote. The bill can now be debated on the Senate floor; whether Alabama’s Republican Senate leadership puts the bill on the calendar for a full vote is still in question
The fact that the bill even made it out of committee is bit of a surprise and is probably attributable to three Republicans senators not attending the meeting. A previous legislation on medical marijuana died in the same committee.
With a Republican controlled legislature, not many are optimistic about the bill’s chances even if it does make it to a full vote. State Senator Bobby Singleton, sponsor of Senate Bill 326 “Medical Marijuana Patient Safe Access Act“, acknowledged the difficulties ahead in getting the bill passed stating he may have to substitute the current bill for a constitutional amendment requiring a public election. Senator Singleton believes letting the voters ultimately decide the law’s fate will increases its chances of passing with Republican lawmakers.
Some highlights of Alabama Senate Bill 326, “Medical Marijuana Patient Safe Access Act”
1) Medical conditions covered:
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)/ Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Cerebral palsy
- Chronic depression
- Chronic pain
- Gastrointestinal disorders, including, but not limited to, colitis, Crohns disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, spasms associated with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS-Lou Gehrig’s disease), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Seizures, including, but not limited to, seizures associated with epilepsy
- Severe nausea
- Tourette’s syndrome
2) Alabama patients with the 25 qualifying medical conditions would be allowed to purchase 10 ounces of medical marijuana per month from a dispensary.
3) Certain patients would be able to grow up to 16 plants
3) Limits the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Alabama based on population. (Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile could have two dispensaries each, while other less populous cities and rural counties having at most 1 each)
4) Sales tax of 2.5% to go to sheriff or police department for fighting drug traffic
This one should be very close in a very conservative state that has historically been relatively hostile to marijuana.