By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
A bill by Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, requiring women of childbearing age to have a negative pregnancy test before they can get medical cannabis got its first favorable vote on Thursday.
The Alabama Legislature’s regular session might end next week and Stutts told Alabama Daily News he knows his bill is unlikely to get final passage. But he said he’s raising awareness.
“The (Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission) will soon be drafting rules about who can get cannabis cards,” Stutts said. “I want to call their attention to the fact that we’re watching to see if they’re going to draft reasonable rules. And one of the most reasonable rules you could draft would be to restrict the use of it in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
“… I filed this bill to say that these are reasonable restrictions.”
But the head of the commission said it has already addressed pregnant women in its proposed rules. The commission is responsible for licensing and regulating cultivators, processors, secure transporters, testing laboratories and dispensaries of medical marijuana products.
Commission Executive Director John McMillan told Alabama Daily News that rules pertaining to prescribing medical doctors have already been drafted by the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners and Medical Association of the State of Alabama.
“They’ve already got an explicit, concrete rule about pregnant ladies,” McMillan said.
The rule prohibits doctors from recommending “the use of medical cannabis to any patient who is pregnant, breastfeeding or attempting to conceive.”
Lawmakers last year approved a law allowing for limited amounts of cannabis products to people with some medical conditions. Stutts, an obstetrician, opposed that bill.
McMillan said cannabis products should be available to those who qualify under the law sometime next year.
Stutts’ Senate Bill 324 also says that dispensaries be located at least one thousand feet from a day-care center or two-year or four-year institution of higher education.
Stutts originally filed the bill in early March and it stalled in the Senate Health Committee. He then filed a new version that was approved by the Senate Children, Youth and Human Services Committee, which voted 7-2 to advance the bill.