Alabama has taken one more step towards becoming the 34th state to legalize medical marijuana. Early on Thursday morning, the state’s Senate voted 17-6 to approve HB 243 a.k.a. the CARE Act, which would establish a list of qualifying conditions for individuals seeking cannabis treatment, as well as a governmental agency to regulate the program.
“It’s not a Republican or Democrat issue to me,” Senator Tim Melson said during floor debate of the measure on Wednesday. “It’s a patient issue. And when you’ve got patients out there that have certain medical conditions that they could benefit from it, I think it’s time to give them the opportunity to participate in it.”
Discussion of the proposal was mainly limited to an exchange between Melson and Senator Larry Stutts, A Republican obstetrician and gynecologist who questioned the amount of medical research supporting cannabis’ effectiveness as medicine.
During public hearings on the bill, the executive director of the Alabama chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics expressed opposition for the measure, while a University of Alabama neurology professor spoke in favor, citing a study of cannabis’ effects on the symptoms of epilepsy.
That study had been authorized by 2014’s “Carly’s Law”, which is