Alabama is the 36th legal medical-marijuana state. The House version of SB 46 passed with bipartisan support on May 5 and Gov. Kay Ivey signed The Compassionate Act into law on May 17.
BREAKING: Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Compassion Act into law, making Alabama the latest state to legalize cannabis for medical use!— Marijuana Policy Project (@MarijuanaPolicy) May 17, 2021
In February, for the second year in a row, the Alabama Senate voted in favor of the legislation sponsored by Republican Sen. Tim Melson.
Mimicking laws in New York, Minnesota and Louisiana, the Act does not allow patients to smoke or vape flower. Alabama was had been among the 14 CBD-only states.
Melson opposes adult use: "I’m not a recreational marijuana person. I don’t want that in this state. I just want the patients who need it to have it.”
One of the senators who voted against the bill, Melson's fellow Republican Larry Stutts, thinks medical-cannabis is a hoax and calls the Act a "backdoor way of saying we’re going to increase the availability of marijuana.
“There’s no such thing as medical marijuana," he adds. "It’s just marijuana. From a medical aspect it’s just marijuana. And we have a process for products, for drugs, for medications to be approved, and we’re bypassing that entire process."
Another concern is that edibles like gummies will appeal to children. "I would rather see it in a form that is least appealing from a child's view," Republican state Rep. Rich Wingo notes. "A child could possibly see these gummys and think they are candy or daily vitamins."
Alabama should be the 37th MMJ state, but on May 14 Mississippi's Supreme Court overturned voter initiative 65 that passed in November.
This article was originally posted on February 25. It has been updated several times.