A bill to allow medical marijuana has officially been filed at the Alabama State House.
Senate Bill 154, titled the Compassion Act, would allow marijuana for treatment of 15 conditions.
The 82 page bill outlines a process for a person diagnosed with a qualifying condition to get a medical cannabis card. It would also set up a commission to oversee everything from a patient registry to licenses for growing, processing and dispensing.
“I beg them, I beg them to do it,” said Mark Coleman.
Coleman prays for state lawmakers to pass the bill. His daughter Mary Ann has severe autism and a seizure disorder.
“There’s nothing more emotional than seeing your child hurt yourself or suffer a seizure,” Coleman said.
She’s used cannabis oil since the passage of Leni’s law, which allowed for its limited use.
Coleman says it made a dramatic difference.
“And to know you’re doing as much as you can do within the law, but there could be easier access, and more potency,” Coleman said.
The compassion act would allow qualifying physicians to recommend medical cannabis for 15 conditions, including autism, cancer and PTSD.
It would allow forms including pills, oils, lozenges and patches. It would not allow smoking or vaping.
“One of the biggest concerns when it comes to introducing a new form of impairment on the roadways is, how are we going to keep our roadways safe?” questioned Shelby County Sheriff Captain Clay Hammac.
Hammac is asking lawmakers to oppose the bill, questioning its long-term effects.
“I simply feel we are moving in a direction that’s going to have dire consequences for years to come,” said Hammac.
“Once we start sending the message to our students and young adults that this is okay to consume, that this is not as harmful as we once believed it was, then we’re opening the doors for them to have a relaxed, normal perception of this harmful product,” he said.
There’s discussion for this bill to be in Senate Judiciary Committee as early as next week.