North Alabama lawmaker proposes bill to legalize medical marijuana

North Alabama lawmaker proposes bill to legalize medical marijuana
Rep. Mike Ball proposes bill that would legalize medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions (Source: WAFF)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) - As the 2019 Alabama legislative session resumes, Madison Rep. Mike Ball has filed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana. Ball is the same representative that sponsored two bills nearly five years ago that became Carly’s Law and Leni’s Law.

Carly’s Law authorized the University of Alabama at Birmingham to begin studying the effectiveness of using Cannabid, or CBD, oil on patients with debilitating medical conditions.

Leni’s Law decriminalizes the usage of CBD for patients with debilitating medical conditions.

Carly’s Law expires July 1, 2019. Ball’s bill would extend Carly’s law through Jan. 1, 2021. It also makes some significant changes to Leni’s Law. “It’s going to be a very comprehensive bill,” said Rep. Ball.

The bill allows patients with qualifying medical conditions, or their caregiver, that are 19 years or older, obtain a medical cannabis card. The medical cannabis card would allow the patient to use cannabis for medical use.

Rep. Mike Ball proposes bill that would legalize medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions
Rep. Mike Ball proposes bill that would legalize medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions (Source: WAFF)

“Doctors should have the option to discuss this with their patients and recommend it," said Rep. Ball.

The bill defines qualifying medical conditions as follows:

  • Addiction
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotropic lateral sclerosis
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Chemo-associated nausea, vomiting, and anorexia.
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Depression
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy/seizures
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Osteogensis Imperfecta
  • Renal failure
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-laminectomy syndrome
  • Post traumatic stress syndrome
  • Severe psoriasis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Schizophrenia and other psychoses
  • Sleep disorders
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • End-of-life pain management or pallitive care
  • Terminal conditions

“There was a ton of anecdotal evidence that this stuff works,” Ball said in regards to the use of CBD.

“We don’t need to let fear and ignorance stand in the way of helping people who need it”
Rep. Mike Ball

The bill would call for the formation of a Medical Cannabis Commission that would start and administer a patient registry system. That system would keep track of patients with debilitating medical conditions who register for a medical cannabis card. The commission would be in charge of issuing the medical cannabis card, issuing the licenses for the cultivation, processing, transportation, manufacturing, packaging, and sale of cannabis. Members would also be responsible for adopting certain rules and regulations and also enforce it.

Rep. Mike Ball of Madison proposes bill that would legalize medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions
Rep. Mike Ball of Madison proposes bill that would legalize medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions (Source: WAFF)

The bill would allow the Department of Agriculture and Industries to inspect licensed facilities.

The bill would also impose a sales and use taxes. It would also create a Medical Cannabis Fund within the states general fund. All the tax and license fees would be deposited into the fund. Any money that exceeds the cost of the Medical cannabis commission would be put into the general fund.

The bill is currently being reviewed by the House Health Committee before it reaches the House floor.

This bill has several sponsors from Rep. Laura Hall to Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon. Ball is prepared for opposition from his fellow lawmakers.

“There’s a lot of things that it has shown to help. We don’t need to let fear and ignorance stand in the way of helping people who need it,” said Ball.

You can read the proposed bill here.

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