Medical marijuana study commission to help draft bills to be considered next legislative session

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Governor Kay Ivey has signed a bill creating a medical marijuana study commission. The new commission will make recommendations for a bill they might consider in the 2020 legislative session.

There was a push to pass a full medical marijuana bill during the 2019 session, but it did not make it to the Governor's desk. Anthony Daniels, Alabama house minority leader says he thinks some parts of the state were ready for that bill to pass.

"Full implementation would have been the choice for the people who live in Madison County," he said.

He thinks lawmakers could have been more educated about the issue.

"I think that they were making decisions on one or two people contacting them in their district and their misperception of what the bill actually does is what I think had an impact in the end," he said.

And getting educated is what the state plans to do.

Governor Ivey signed a bill creating a 15 member commission to study medical marijuana including the state health officer, director of the department of forensic sciences and a member appointed by the director of the drug education council.

The Governor and Attorney General will each appoint three members. The Lieutenant Governor, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the House Majority Leader will each appoint two members for the commission.

Members will be comprised of a district attorney, multiple doctors, a substance abuse treatment professional, pharmacist and people with agricultural experience.

The commission will hold at least three public hearings to talk to patients and families who may benefit from medical marijuana.

The commission will examine state and federal regulations.

Some of the key issues considered will be who is qualified and how will they be registered, how medical marijuana is grown, processed, labeled, and transported, and product safety inspections.

According to the bill, the commission's first meeting will take place before July 15. The commission has to report its findings and draft legislation by December 20.

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