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Medical marijuana: first look at Melson’s bill for the 2021 session

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Sen. Tim Melson pre-filed this week a bill to allow for medical marijuana in Alabama. This is his third session pushing legalization legislation.

Last month, Melson, R-Florence, said the bill would be the same as the 2020 version that cleared the Senate 22-to-11 before COVID-19 shortened the session and killed many bills.

Senate Bill 46 can be read here. It has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I’m looking forward to getting it introduced and seeing what happens,” Melson told ADN at the time. “…Hopefully, we can get it passed and help some people who need it.”

There is opposition to the bill, including Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall who sent a letter to legislators early last year outlining his opposition. He said marijuana is an addictive substance and drew parallels with the ongoing opioid addiction crisis. He also noted that federal law continues to ban marijuana.

The “Compassion Act” creates a Medical Cannabis Commission to oversee regulations and licensing for medical marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensaries and requires a statewide seed-to-sale tracking system for all cannabis in the state.

More than a dozen qualifying medical conditions and symptoms are listed in the bill, including post-traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS-related nausea and cancer-related chronic pain and nausea. Patients must have the okay of approved doctors to qualify.

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