UPDATE: Gov. Ivey signs medical marijuana bill
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Governor Kay Ivey has signed the medical marijuana bill into law.
The Alabama House chamber passed the medical marijuana bill Thursday.
The bill makes marijuana legal medical treatment for about 10 different medical conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, autism and epilepsy.
Governor Ivey met with Senator Tim Melson Monday, and she officially signed Senate Bill 46 into law.
Upon doing so, the governor issued the following statement:
“Signing SB 46 is an important first step. I would like to again thank Sen. Tim Melson and Rep. Mike Ball for their hard work over the last few years and their willingness to address the legitimate concerns. This is certainly a sensitive and emotional issue and something that is continually being studied. On the state level, we have had a study group that has looked closely at this issue, and I am interested in the potential good medical cannabis can have for those with chronic illnesses or what it can do to improve the quality of life of those in their final days.
“As research evolves, Sen. Melson and I discussed how critical it is to continue finding ways to work on this to ensure we have a productive, safe and responsible operation in Alabama.”
“I’ve seen enough suffering for 10 lifetimes, and this is a way we can help some people,” said Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, who passionately urged state lawmakers to support the proposal. He handled the proposal in the House.
Several Republicans and Democrats shared personal testimonies about how medical marijuana has helped or could have helped someone they know.
“I can’t understand how people can come down here and basically tell folks how to treat their dying loved ones,” said Rep. Ralph Howard, D-Greensboro. “Who am I to tell you how to treat a sick relative?”
The bill requires a doctor to sign off that the patient has a condition that qualifies under the law.
Patients would be required to hold a special card saying they are clear to use marijuana for medical purposes. That card could cost as much as $65.
But many Republicans filibustered the medical marijuana bill until almost midnight Tuesday.
“I’m scared to death for this,” said Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Pike Road. “And I just want to make sure it will not be a gateway.”
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