New Marijuana Law has North Alabama advocate hopeful in new option for patients

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A former D.A.R.E. officer-turned medical cannabis advocate spent the past year educating legislators across Alabama on the benefits of medical marijuana, and is thrilled for what’s to come with the new law.

When Governor Ivey signed the bill into law this past week, advocate Amanda Taylor said it’s something that made all the hard work worth it.

CBD sellers echo Taylor’s excitement, adding a stronger non-pharmaceutical option may benefit patients across the Tennessee Valley.

“So many people need the THC that’s in Marijuana. Now you can also take that THC and tone it down, that psychoactive,” The Green Lady dispensary co-owner Linda Jones said

“A lot of the patients that are using medical marijuana are patients that have already used all of these FDA prescribed drugs,” Bluewater Hemp co-owner Taylor Marks added.

Taylor suffers from six diseases, among them, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and Gastroparesis.

She tried pharmaceuticals, but said they were harming more than helping. She said she suffered severe side effects that almost killed her. She was also spending thousands of dollars per month on medicine.

“It’s not about being high, it’s about a better quality of life,” Taylor said.

Medical marijuana was eventually recommended to Taylor by one of her doctors, and she was not originally on board with the idea, but the former D.A.R.E. officer was desperate for relief that wouldn’t exacerbate her symptoms.

She moved from her home in Cullman County to Arizona to get treatment for her Gastroparesis using medicinal marijuana.

“To get what I needed, I had to move 1,600 miles away from everybody I knew and loved. I weighed less than 99 pounds and I was basically walking death,” she said. “The plant saved my life.”

Since then, she has been advocating. First, she studied the law and policies in Arizona, where it is legal, before feeling prepared to bring her knowledge back to Alabama.

Then she went to Montgomery, hoping to get a medical marijuana bill passed for the state. She shared her story to educate policymakers on how beneficial it can be to those who are sick.

“I took my story to as many members of the legislative body that I could in person, in email and phone calls. I made them look at me and tell me why they were denying me compassion,” she said. “God did not save me to be quiet. So I took that opportunity and I stood up and I told the truth.”

Officials have stated medical marijuana likely will not be an option for patients for at least another year, while they work on a process to successfully roll out the program.

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