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Melson: Proposed changes coming to medical marijuana law

By MARY SELL and CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Proposed changes to Alabama’s medical cannabis law will be coming soon.

Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, the sponsor of the cannabis bill that became law earlier this year, said he will file legislation to make technical changes to some of the wording around timing and deadlines in the law. 

Melson said he’s waiting for newly appointed Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Executive Director John McMillan and commission chairman Steven Stokes to finalize a list of needed changes. Melson said he may file the bill in the special session on redistricting expected in late October or early November.

The law allows people with certain medical conditions access to limited forms of medical marijuana, including pills and skin patches.  The 14-member commission is creating the rules, regulations and best practices for growing, cultivating, processing and selling a medical cannabis product in the state.

McMillan told ADN that the changes the commission would like to see are to enable more flexibility when it comes to timelines set in the bill.

“It’s really to build in some flexibility, so instead of having wording in the bill like ‘by this date’ it would instead say, ‘no later than,’” McMillan said.

Melson said the needed tweaks won’t change what’s allowed under the law.

McMillan doesn’t officially start his new role until Oct. 1 but commission vice-chair Rex Vaughn has already stated that they would like to move up the start date for licensing cultivators from Sept. 1, 2022 to earlier in 2022, the Associated Press reported.

McMillan said it may not be until sometime in November when they can start creating the rules and regulations since lawyers will have to be hired and approved by the legislature’s contract and review committee which meets once every month.

The commission’s next meeting is Oct. 14.

The next regular session of the Legislature will begin Jan. 11.

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