Medical marijuana patients in the state of Alabama have something to be happy about after Governor Kay Ivey signed a medical cannabis bill that was sent to her desk last month after gaining the Legislature’s approval. The bill, which had cleared two House Committees before heading to the Senate for its final approval, was sponsored by Senator Tim Nelson. On top of allowing patients with qualifying conditions to access medical marijuana, the bill would also establish a commission to oversee licensing and implement the regulations for the state’s medical cannabis program.
When the legislation first hit Ivey’s desk, she said she hoped to sign it after doing a thorough review of its provisions. While she was aware of cannabis’ purported health benefits, she still had some misgivings and didn’t want the situation to get out of control. A spokesperson from her office said that medical marijuana was an emotional and sensitive issue that was dear to many people’s hearts, and the governor would give it the diligence it deserves.
Rather than propose line-item amendments as some lawmakers thought she may, Ivey signed bill SB 46 into law as is. In a press statement, she reiterated that medical marijuana is a sensitive and emotional issue and that signing the bill was a significant first step. She was especially interested in marijuana’s ability to help individuals with chronic illnesses and those who are suffering from terminal conditions. Ivey acknowledged that a lot more research is required and that the state will continue studying and researching to ensure it runs a safe, productive and responsible medical marijuana program.
Although the bill that Ivey signed into law is pretty restrictive in comparison to other state medical marijuana programs, it is certainly better than nothing. Patients suffering from one of twenty qualifying conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), intractable pain, sleep disorders, and anxiety, will be granted access to medical cannabis. However, regulators would not be able to independently add to the list of qualifying conditions; this decision will be left to lawmakers.
Additionally, SB 46 doesn’t allow raw cannabis flower, smoking, vaping and cannabis-infused baked goods. Patients will be restricted to oils, lozenges, capsules, topical patches and suppositories. Physicians would be required to take a four-hour continuing course and pass an exam to be able to recommend medical cannabis to their patients. The course would cost more than $500, and physicians would have to retake it every two years.
Now that Alabama is easing some of its most stringent restrictions regarding the scope of the medical marijuana program, the state is on course to close the gap, from a regulatory standpoint, with more mature markets where entities such as Sonoma Biologics Corp. operate.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Sonoma Biologics Corp. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/Sonoma
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