HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Alabama Legislature was not quite ready in 2019 to legalize medical marijuana.
But it came pretty close.
Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon told WHNT News 19 Friday that testimony from medical experts carried a lot of weight with legislators.
“The evidence that was brought to the legislative body during the session was the fact that the chemical within the marijuana is definitely something that can be used for medical purposes,” McCutcheon said.
So, the legislature formed a medical cannabis study commission, which began meeting this week.
McCutcheon said legislators didn’t really need persuading on the potential medical benefits; the concern was what happens if medical marijuana is allowed?
“You know, if you’re a patient and you’re using marijuana, what if you’re involved in an accident?” McCutcheon said, “And what about blood testing? All of these things were questions that came up from the legislative body.”
The speaker says the commission’s recommendations will be taken seriously.
“This commission can take the discussion and debate that we moved to at the end of the session and move forward and help educate us on the findings,” he said.
The speaker said passage of Carly’s Law in 2014, calling for study, and some distribution of CDB oil for treatment of seizures, helped pave the way for the current debate.
“When we got to the point that we approved the oil and its treatment for seizures, that moved the needle tremendously from 10 years ago,” McCutcheon said.
He expects the same lessons will apply to medical marijuana.
“We did it the right way, we didn’t just go out and hand it out,” McCutcheon said. “We did a study through UAB, all of this has built us to this point.”
The Medical Cannabis Study Commission will meet again in Mobile next month. The commission is supposed to file a report and any recommendations for legislation by Dec. 1.