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The Medical Cannabis Study Commission held its first meeting Tuesday. The commission was created as a compromise after a bill to allow medical marijuana stalled in the Alabama legislature.

Is Alabama one step closer to legalizing medical marijuana? At the statehouse lawmakers, doctors, district attorneys and other members of the Medical Cannabis Study Commission met for the first time.

Tuesday was the culmination of a process several years in the making. Cannabidiol and medical marijuana bills have been brought to the legislature and not passed several times over the years.

During the 2019 legislative session, two medical marijuana bills were presented in Montgomery. Republican Representative Mike Ball (R – Madison County) sponsored a bill that would allow certain people to use medical marijuana.

“I don’t think the public would know that much other than people who have these cards,” Rep. Mike Ball said.

It would also extend Carly’s Law, which authorized a University of Alabama in Birmingham study on using CBD oil to treat seizure disorders.

“Anytime that we’ve progressed, it’s fear and ignorance, it’s what we have to overcome,” he said.

That bill did not pass.

Republican Senator Tim Melson sponsored a bill that would set up state oversight and a process for prescribing marijuana as medicine. After being passed in the Senate, it stalled in the house, and as a compromise, the Medical Cannabis Study Commission was formed.

The commission is tasked with holding at least three public hearings to talk to patients and families who may benefit from medical marijuana.

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.

The commission should be ready to file legislation for the 2020 session in December. It will hold two more public meetings before then.