Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Law does not make smoking marijuana legal


AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – With Governor Kay Ivey signing Senate Bill 46 into law, Alabama is now the 37th state allowing registered patients with qualifying conditions access to medical cannabis. News 3 spoke with Lee County’s District Attorney, who wants residents to understand what is permitted and what’s not.  

Senate Bill 46 allows registered doctors to certify medical cannabis for more than a dozen qualifying conditions, like cancer, terminal illness, depression, epilepsy, and chronic pain. The bill allows pills, skin patches, and topicals, but not smoking or vaping products. 

“This is not a free for all for marijuana, and it is very regulated within the state. The marijuana plant is still going to be illegal. It is still illegal to have a plant or any raw marijuana, smokeable marijuana, vapes, and marijuana that you would put into brownies, for example, will still be outlawed,” said Jessica Ventiere, Lee County District Attorney.

A Statewide Commission to oversee the implementation of the law will be named by July 1st. A database will track certified prescribers, dispensaries, patients, including form and amount. Ventiere says, for now, another state’s medical cannabis card is not allowed for use in Alabama. Also, as with prescription pills, you can still be charged with driving over the influence. 

“It’s going to take some time before all of this stuff gets into place, before regulations are in place, before our cultivators and our licensees, and our dispensaries are in place, and for people to even apply for the card. My main concern is I don’t want there to be confusion about the law and for someone to pick up an unnecessary charge because of not understanding what this law entails,” said Ventiere.

Bill Summary

Relating to the medical use of cannabis; to add a new Chapter 2A to Title 20, Code of Alabama 1975; to amend Section 13A-7-2, Code of Alabama 1975; to create the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act; to provide civil and criminal protections to certain patients with a qualifying medical condition who have a valid medical cannabis card for the medical use of cannabis; to establish the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission and provide for its membership and duties; to provide for certification of patients to authorize use of medical cannabis; to license and regulate the cultivation, processing, transporting, testing, and dispensing of medical cannabis; to prohibit certain types of medical cannabis products; to provide for patient registry and seed-to-sale tracking; to impose taxes; to provide certain legal protections for users of medical cannabis; to provide certain legal protections for employers; to provide further for workers’ compensation benefits in certain circumstances where an employee uses medical cannabis; to amend the crime of trespass in the first degree; to establish the Medical Cannabis Research Consortium to award research grants using tax proceeds; and in connection therewith would have as its SB46 purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

The full language of SB46 can be found here:

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