Updated on May 26, 2020.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Alabama Medical Marijuana Facts
There have been several developments regarding medical marijuana in Alabama over the last few years. Although it is still illegal to use, for the most part, there has been at least a bit of a loosening of the reigns when it comes to the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for epileptic seizures. Here are a few Alabama medical marijuana facts that you might not have known about.
- Alabama is still pending legislative vote. Under this legislation, medical cannabis would available to anyone 19 years or older who a physician certifies as having a qualifying medical condition by a physician. Patients 18 or younger would need a parent or guardian to administer cannabis. The bill would also create an Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, which would oversee a patient registry and license medical cannabis facilities in the state. The state has outlined several key factors for the medical marijuana program in Alabama, but it has not been legally enacted as of this time.
- In early April of 2013, Alabama joined the growing list of states that are considering the taxation and regulation of marijuana as if it was alcohol. Proposed measures in Alabama would remove all criminal-based penalties for the possession of marijuana by adults who are twenty-one years of age and older.
- Marijuana arrests in Alabama increased from 10,669 in 2003 to 12,575 in 2007. The arrest rate of marijuana-related individuals in 2003 was 230 per 100,000 while in the year 2007, it was 272.
- The number of annual marijuana users in the state of Alabama decreased from 309,000 in 2033 to 303,000 in 2007. That was an average annualized change of around 0.39% per year that was recorded. The number of monthly marijuana users increased from 160,000 individuals to 172,000 in 2007.
- The state of Alabama has compiled data on drug treatment admissions and has found that it is often used to justify devoting law enforcement resources to making marijuana arrests. The argument, however, is considered to be a two-fold.
- The most significant characteristic of marijuana-related drug treatment admissions is that a majority of them in the state of Alabama are the result of referrals from the criminal justice system.
- In 2014, the Alabama House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill known as “Carly’s Law” that allowed the University of Alabama at Birmingham to conduct a study on the effectiveness of CBD oil to treat epileptic seizures. The law was named after Carly Chandler, a three-year-old Birmingham girl who suffered from a severe neurological issue. However, CBD oil remained illegal in the state, along with all other forms of cannabis.
- On May 4, 2016, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed a law permitting epileptic seizure sufferers to use CBD oil. While it decriminalized CBD possession, the oil was still not available anywhere in the state. People would have to bring it in from other states to use it. This was named “Leni’s Law” after a four-year-old girl who was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering a stroke while still in her mother’s womb.
- A marijuana advocate sued the Alabama Ethics Commission in 2016 over its policy that all out-of-state lobbyists must take an in-person ethics class held in the state’s capital city of Montgomery. The class is only held four times each year. On the other hand, council members, county commissioners and other in-state officials can take the same ethics class online.
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