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Alabama Legalizes Medical Cannabis

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: May 18, 2021   
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Alabama has become the latest US state to legalize medical cannabis.

On Monday, May 17 – just over a week since the state House and Senate approved a medical cannabis legalization bill – Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill into law.

The new program will allow patients who live with one of 16 qualifying medical conditions, including cancer, a terminal illness, and depression, to buy medical cannabis with the recommendation of a doctor.

In the bill

Alabama’s senate approved the bill in February by a 21-to-8 vote following 15 minutes of debate. The House of Representatives then sent the bill through two committees before approving it on May 6 by a 68-to-34 margin.

The bill permits the sale of medical cannabis in forms such as pills, skin patches, and creams, but not baked goods, smokables, or vaping products.

The daily THC dosage for these products will also be capped at 50 milligrams. However, this maximum dose may be exceeded to 75 milligrams in the case of terminal illness or if a higher dose is deemed medically appropriate by a doctor after 90 days of care.

According to the Associated Press, qualifying medical conditions for cannabis will include cancer-related nausea, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, depression, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS-related nausea, panic disorder, Parkinson’s disease, persistent nausea, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and Tourette’s syndrome.

Under the bill, business license applications are expected to begin September 1, 2022.


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