Yesterday, the Alabama Senate approved the state’s medical cannabis bill — SB 165 — in a 22-11 vote! The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where the speaker has not yet committed to letting it receive a vote.
Write your state rep today to ask them to support patients and to urge leadership to let it get a vote. To have even more impact, you can give your state representative a call after sending your email.
Senators debated SB 165 for hours and considered numerous amendments — accepting some and rejecting others.
The bill, which is sponsored by a physician, Sen. Tim Melson (R), would allow qualifying patients to use and safely access medical cannabis preparations. While it is more restrictive than most medical cannabis laws — and does not allow smoking or vaporization — SB 165 would still be a dramatic improvement from current law. For more details, check out our summary.
After you reach out to your own representative, spread the word to other compassionate Alabamians so that they, too, can raise their voices for compassion.
On February 20, Alabama’s Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a medical cannabis bill — SB 165 — in an 8-1 vote. It could get a Senate floor vote as soon as this week!
Alabama’s lack of medical marijuana protections is increasingly an outlier. Thirty-three states, including Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas, allow medical cannabis, and Mississippi voters will get to decide the issue directly in November. Polling shows 75% of Alabama voters support medical cannabis.
But because Alabama doesn’t have a citizen initiative process, the only way to bring a compassionate law to the state is for state lawmakers to pass a bill.
While the Senate advanced a compassionate medical cannabis bill in 2019, the House has never voted on the issue. Let’s build a drumbeat of momentum to make 2020 the year that Alabama patients finally get relief.
Last week, the Alabama Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. SB 236 would allow qualifying patients 19 and older to possess and purchase medical marijuana from authorized dispensaries.
Several conditions would qualify for medical marijuana treatment, including PTSD, chronic pain, cancer, autism, and epilepsy.
The bill will likely move to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. Please contact your representative in the House in support of medical marijuana in Alabama today. Then, get the word out by forwarding this email to friends and family or by sharing the action link on social media.
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB 236 in a 6-2 vote. The bill would establish a medical marijuana program in Alabama and would allow patients 19 years or older to use medical marijuana to treat 33 different conditions, including autism, chronic pain, and anxiety.
Contact your lawmakers in support of SB 236 today. Medical marijuana won’t pass in Alabama without robust grassroots outreach, so please email them now.
Last week, the same committee approved a bill that would decriminalize marijuana.
Please contact your public officials today and then help get the word out by forwarding this email to friends and family. Together we can bring sensible marijuana laws to the South.
Today, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved SB 98, which would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of cannabis to a fine. The bill now heads to the Senate floor. Don’t let this chance to stop jailing cannabis consumers pass the state by.
Currently, anyone found possessing marijuana in Alabama faces up to a year in jail. Under SB 98, people caught with one ounce or less would be punished by a fine of up to $250 for the first two offenses and up to a $500 fine on all future offenses. Twenty-four states, including neighboring Mississippi, have stopped jailing adults for possession of small amounts of marijuana. It’s time for Alabama to reform outdated laws that do nothing to make the state safer. A recent report from the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center showed that marijuana prohibition is a costly and ineffective law that harms thousands of people. Enforcing prohibition costs the state roughly $22 million a year when you add up the costs incurred by the police, courts, and corrections.
Please contact your lawmakers today, and then get the word out by forwarding this email to friends and family. Together we can stop arresting Alabamans for possessing a substance safer than alcohol.
This Monday, January 28, AL.com will be moderating a marijuana law panel in Birmingham. The event will be an educational forum for policymakers to discuss Alabama’s marijuana laws. If you are interested in going, please RSVP as space is limited.
Here are the details for the forum:
What: Alabama marijuana law panel
When: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on January 28, 2019
Where: Harbert Center, 2019 4th Ave. N, Birmingham, AL 35203
A report put out by two of the participants, Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, highlights the fiscal and social costs of prohibition. Enforcing these failed marijuana laws costs the state millions of dollars and needlessly harms thousands of Alabamans. Please write your legislators, asking them to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession. Then, share the action with your friends and family. Together we can bring sensible marijuana laws to Alabama.
The Alabama House Judiciary Committee will be considering a bill that would decriminalize less than one ounce of marijuana.
Currently, Alabamans caught with small amounts of marijuana can be sent to jail for up to one year. These bills, HB 272 and SB 251, would change the penalty for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana to a violation instead of a misdemeanor. That means the penalty would be paying a fine of up to $250 instead of facing jail time.
There is real momentum to pass this bipartisan bill this year. One of the sponsors, Rep. Patricia Todd, said, “I haven’t talked to one person who is against.”
If you are an Alabama resident, please ask your representatives and senators to support HB 272 and SB 251.
Earlier this month, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed into law SB 174, known as Carly’s Law. This law creates an affirmative defense for patients suffering from debilitating epileptic conditions — or their caregivers — for the possession and use of marijuana extracts that are high in CBD (a component of marijuana). It is a strong endorsement by Alabama lawmakers of the medical benefits of marijuana. Unfortunately, the law suffers from several fatal flaws, rendering it ineffective.
Unfortunately, by being limited to low-THC extracts and patients with epilepsy, SB 174 leaves the vast majority of patients behind. Even patients with epilepsy are extremely unlikely to get relief. Carly’s Law requires a “prescription” for the legal use of medical marijuana. Yet “prescribing” a federally illegal substance may jeopardize a doctor’s federal license. Meanwhile, a “recommendation” is protected under the First Amendment.
By merely providing an affirmative defense, the law won’t protect patients from being arrested and dragged into court. Finally, this law relies on the University of Alabama at Birmingham to implement the medical marijuana program. Unfortunately, based on what we have already experienced in other states, this university hospital-based approach is extremely unlikely to ever get off the ground.