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Medical marijuana bill heads to key House vote

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A second legislative committee on Thursday approved a medical marijuana bill, putting the proposal in line for a key vote in the House of Representatives.

The House Health Committee approved the legislation by Republican Sen. Tim Melson of Florence, that would allow people with a qualifying medical condition to purchase marijuana after getting a recommendation from a doctor. More than one dozen conditions, including cancer, a terminal illness and chronic pain, would allow a person to qualify.

The bill would allow marijuana in forms such as pills, skin patches and creams but not in smoking or vaping products.

The Alabama Senate approved the bill by a 21-8 vote after 15 minutes of debate in February. However, the House of Representatives has traditionally been more skeptical of medical marijuana proposals and required the bill to go through two committees before coming to the floor.

Melson has expressed optimism about the bill’s chances this year after years of setbacks. A medical marijuana bill in 2013 won the so-called “Shroud Award” for the “deadest” bill that year in the House of Representatives.

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