I’m old enough to remember November 4th, 1996, when no state had passed a medical cannabis law. California voters passed Prop 215 the following day, and the medical cannabis revolution was put on hyperspeed as Washington and Oregon completed completed the West Coast and now 36 states have enacted medical laws, while 17 states, two territories, and our nation’s capital have legalized for all adults over 21. If you would have told me a few years ago that the Alabama Legislature (ALABAMA!) would pass a medical cannabis law in 2021, I would have been rather shocked, to be perfectly honest, but when you have hardworking advocates armed with the truth and common sense on their side, victories that were once long-shot dreams, can become a reality. Marijuana Moment reported on the historic victory in the Deep South:
“After clearing two House committees last month, the measure passed the full chamber by a vote of 68-34 on Thursday. The Senate, which had previously approved an earlier version of the legislation in March, then signed off on the other body’s changes in a 20-9 vote.
“The win came after opponents staged a lengthy filibuster on the House floor earlier this week, drawing out the process by making a series of speeches and asking questions until the end of the day’s session at midnight approached. Those stalling tactics did not continue on Thursday, however.
“To qualify for the program, patients would have to be diagnosed with one of about 20 conditions, including anxiety, sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain. Regulators would not be able to independently add additional conditions, leaving that decision up to lawmakers in future sessions.”
The bill now heads to Republican Governor Kay Ivey’s desk and her office emailed Marijuana Moment: “As with any piece of legislation that reaches the governor’s desk, we look forward to thoroughly reviewing it. We appreciate the debate from the Legislature on the topic. This is certainly an emotional issue. We are sensitive to that and will give it the diligence it deserves.”
Hopefully, Gov. Ivey does the right thing and improves the lives of thousands upon thousands of Alabama patients battling severe and debilitating medical conditions. Medical cannabis’ passage in conservative Alabama continues the momentum for the cannabis sanity movement that has turned the tide against Reefer Madness with voters, but the most important thing is that patients’ quality of life will ameliorate. Step by step, state by state, cannabis sanity is winning the day. A sincere thanks to advocates everywhere, especially those working in legislatures which have long held extreme anti-cannabis views.