When will medical marijuana be available in Alabama?
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -Governor Kay Ivey officially signed Alabama’s medical marijuana bill into law. This makes Alabama the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion on what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to medical marijuana.
The biggest question that continues to pop up, does this law allow people to smoke? The answer is no. This would allow marijuana in pill form, oils, and topical products. Advocates say that we should not focus on all the small details and remember that this is to help sick people live a better life.
“This is not a pharmaceutical bill. This is not a recreational bill. This is a medical cannabis bill, that the product that a patient gets is medical quality,” says Melissa Mullins, President of the Alabama Cannabis Coalition.
The law will allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for several conditions including cancer, terminal illnesses, epilepsy, and chronic pain. Patients will have to receive a medical cannabis card, and vaping or smoking of medical marijuana will not be allowed.
So, when can Alabamians expect all of this to happen?
“18 months. In the bill, it states the commission has to be set up by September 2022,” says Chey Garrigan, Executive Director of the Alabama Cannabis Industry Association.
To get to that point, the state must grow the plant, processors and dispensaries must be established, and physicians must attend classes and get licenses particularly for medical cannabis. And, all of this must be monitored by a commission that doesn’t exist yet.
“It is going to start appointing commissioners as soon as July of this year,” says Garrigan,
No more than 12 cultivation licenses will be issued, with 4 processors, and 4 dispensaries that may have up to three locations in other counties. Five facilities will be able to grow, process, transport, and dispense cannabis. These sites may also have up to five dispensing sites in different counties. This will all be heavily monitored and under surveillance at all times.
“If you have something that is surveillance you can always go back and know what happened. Also, think it is going to help with purity. All of these packages are going to have to be inspected for quality, inspected for purity,” says Mullins.
There are still some unanswered questions due to the commission for this law not yet being formed, but Garrigan tells me this is going to take time. It is still growing and developing. She says the important thing is that this bill has been put into legislation so we can get sick people to help as soon as possible.
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