Alabama is one step closer to legalizing medical marijuana after the state senate approved a bill this week to permit the treatment for patients with qualifying conditions.
The bill, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Tim Melson, passed the chamber on Thursday by a 22-11 vote, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
“There could have been more of an organized effort to slow it down, and I appreciate the body not doing that,” Melson told the newspaper following the vote. “We tried to address some very serious things. I’m not taking this bill lightly. It’s a big step for Alabama, and there’s still a long way to go.”
Melson has been one of the leading champions for medical marijuana in the state. He was the chair of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission, which was born out of a failed effort to legalize the treatment last year. The commission, which was tasked with studying whether medical marijuana was a viable option for the state, held several public meetings last year in an effort to provide guidance to lawmakers.
The Bill’s Journey
In December, the commission voted 12-6 in favor of legislation that would legalize and regulate medical cannabis in Alabama. Last month,