A bill to allow medical marijuana in Alabama cleared its first hurdle on Wednesday after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send it to the full chamber.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, passed the committee 8 to 1. Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Sheffield, voted no; Sen. Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville, abstained.
“I know some people are worried send a bad signal to the children,” Melson said before the start of a 90-minute hearing before the committee. “I think it’s sends a better signal that we’re willing to treat a condition where nothing else has worked.”
Under Melson’s bill, medical cannabis would available to anyone 19 years or older who a physician certifies as having a qualifying medical condition by a physician. Patients 18 or younger would need a parent or guardian to administer cannabis. The patient would have to apply for a medical cannabis card, which would cost no more than $65.
The bill would also create an Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, which would oversee a patient registry and license medical cannabis facilities in the state. The Department of Agriculture and Industries would develop rules on the cultivation of marijuana in Alabama; the bill requires cultivators to have resided in the state for at least eight years. [Read more at Montgomory Advertiser]