Alabama’s Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill on Wednesday to allow production and use of medical marijuana, reports NBC News.
Under the Care Act, patients 19 and older who suffer from one of 33 qualifying conditions would be allowed to consume medical marijuana and purchase products from licensed dispensaries. A regulatory commission would be responsible for licensing cultivators, distributors and retailers, as well as approving medical cannabis cards for patients.
Some conditions that qualify for legal marijuana access include addiction, epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer, and depression.
Dr. Jerzy Szaflarski, a neurology professor at UAB, spoke in support of the bill during a public hearing prior to the vote.
“There is potential for a cannabis to be helpful in many conditions,” Szaflarski said. “We need to explore that. At this point we are very limited by the laws and having a law that is more permissive will allow us to try it in patients who have various conditions where it may work that currently have no access to cannabis products.”
Dustin Chandler, whose daughter Carly suffers from frequent and severe seizures, also voiced his approval.
“If my daughter could talk, she’s receiving help and I know she would tell me to say, ‘Daddy, why aren’t we helping other people?’” Chandler said. “Knowing it could potentially help thousands if not millions of more people, why are we not doing that.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill in a 6-2 vote, with three abstentions. It will now be considered by the full Senate.
“We’re encouraged to see a compassionate medical cannabis bill advancing in Alabama,” Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment. “Passing medical cannabis laws should be a no-brainer for elected officials.”
Oscar Pascual is the editor of Smell the Truth, syndicated on GreenState and SFGATE. Smell The Truth is one of the internet’s most popular destinations for cannabis-related news and culture. This blog is not written or edited by Hearst. The authors are solely responsible for the content.