Montgomery, Alabama – A bill to allow the use of medical marijuana overcame its first challenge on Wednesday in the Alabama legislature, which gives hope to its advocates after years of trouble.
The members of the audience applauded when the Senate Committee on Legal Affairs passed the law with eight votes in favor and one against, which sends it to the full Senate for approval.
The law, proposed by Republican Senator Tim Melson, will allow prescribing marijuana to people suffering from 15 diseases, including cancer, anxiety and chronic pain, and will allow the purchase of cannabis products at authorized dispensaries.RELATED
The drug would be sold in pills, capsules, oils, skin patches and creams, but not products for smoking or vaping.
Advocates for the medical use of marijuana attended the Alabama parliament to observe the debate and tell their stories to lawmakers.
“The bill is not to get high. This bill is to heal,” said Dr. Alana Shackelford, a Colorado doctor who described how medical marijuana helped patients with seizures and cancer.
The bill attracted opposition from some police and conservative groups, who expressed concern about the dose, safety and possible abuse.
“Just because we put the medical word after marijuana doesn’t mean it’s medicine,” said Shelby County Police Captain Clay Hammac.