Senate to debate medical marijuana bill

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medical marijuana

A medical marijuana bill is headed to its first floor vote Thursday in the Alabama Legislature as advocates hope to make headway after years of setbacks.

The legislation is on the daily debate agenda in the Alabama Senate. The bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Tim Melson would allow people with a doctor’s recommendation to use medical marijuana for 15 conditions — including cancer, anxiety and chronic pain — and purchase cannabis products at one of 34 licensed dispensaries. The bill would allow marijuana in forms such as pills, gelatinous cubes, oils, skin patches, gels and creams but not in smoking or vaping products.

Medical marijuana advocates for years made little headway in the conservative-leaning state. A medical marijuana bill in 2013 won the so-called “Shroud Award” for the “deadest” bill that year in the House of Representatives.

Melson said he is optimistic about the bill’s chances.

“Things have changed. We learn as we go in life and people have realized there are benefits,’” Melson said.

The bill faces opposition from Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. He sent lawmakers a letter expressing his opposition that noted marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Republished with the Permission of the Associated Press.