State lawmaker urges colleagues to pass new medical marijuana bill

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - House Bill 243 is making it's way through the Alabama legislature now. If passed into law, it would legally give certain people access to medical marijuana.

State Representative Mike Ball sponsored Leni's Law several years ago. Leni’s Law is named for Leni Young, whose family had to move to Oregon because her cannabis oil treatment is illegal in Alabama.

Back in 2016, Leni’s mother, Amy, said Leni went from having hundreds of seizures a day to only about six after using CBD oil.

Now, Rep. Ball is hoping to legalize medical marijuana for more people in Alabama.

"The one truth that I hold onto is that the people that possess this for this purpose, are not criminals, should not be," Rep. Ball said.

Ball says this bill would lift a barrier for families.

"What we have effectively done is we have effectively blocked people who might be able to get some good out of this," Rep. Ball said.

This bill also extends Carly's law. This is the law which authorized a University of Alabama in Birmingham study on using CBD oil to treat seizure disorders.
ball says he's for research expansion of understanding the medical use.

"Well, we don't have enough research because we've blocked it," Rep. Ball said.

Ball also acknowledged those fearing a change.

"I know that there will be those who will be afraid that this will expand to street dope everywhere and people be smoking pot," Rep. Ball said. "The thing is, anybody that wants to smoke a joint, anybody that wants to abuse marijuana, they can go out on the street and buy a bag of dope."

The bill is in a House committee now; Ball expects it to move on to the House floor.

This bill would also establish the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. Ball says that group would oversee which doctors could prescribe cannabis, who gets cards to purchase the marijuana, and which dispensaries and growers get a license to operate.

"In order to have it medically, you have to have someone growing it and distributing it and at the same token, we have to make sure that it doesn't cause abuse of the drug," Ball said.

Ball also said it is likely the commission will authorize the research component of the law as well, if the bill is passed.

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