Alabama medical marijuana bill advances to the Senate. What it proposes.

Alabama medical marijuana bill
Four years ago Alabama residents stood outside of the statehouse to support the legalization of medical marijuana. Photo via AP News.

Alabama could be the 34th state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. A proposed bill just passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee and now moves on to the Senate. Find out what it means for Alabama and Birmingham.

What the bill actually proposes

Alabama medical marijuana bill
Cristi Cain makes her case for the legalization of medical marijuana at the hearing. Photo via AP News.

Who does the Alabama medical marijuana bill benefit?

There are up to 15 conditions where a doctor can recommend medical marijuana for a patient. These include:

  • Cancer
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain 

The bill does not allow marijuana in the form of smoking or vaping products. Instead, it would include these forms which could be purchased at 34 dispensaries statewide:

  • Pills
  • Gummy cubes
  • Oils
  • Skin patches
  • Gels and creams

“This bill is not about getting high. This bill is about getting well.”

Quote via from Dr. Alan Shackelford, a Colorado doctor and advocate for the Alabama bill. He described the success of using medical marijuana on people with seizures and cancer.

What else does it propose?

Read the full bill.

Who sponsors the bill?

Republican Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, sponsors the bill. According to, Melson earned his M.D. from UAB. He served as chief of anesthesia at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, Alabama.

Where is the Alabama medical marijuana bill currently living?

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 8-1 for the bill. It now joins the line for an Alabama Senate floor vote later this session.

What are the next steps?

Who supports the bill?

Along with Dr. Alan Shackelford and of course Republican Sen. Tim Melson, other supporters are pushing for the bill.

Cristi Cain, an Alabama mother, uses CBD oil to reduce the number of seizers her 8-year-old son has every day. According to AP News, she said in the hearing, “An area code shouldn’t affect one’s health care. If Hardy didn’t live in Alabama, he could be seizure-free. We shouldn’t have to be and don’t want to be medical refugees.”

Who’s against the Alabama medical marijuana bill?

According to the, law enforcement groups are currently against the proposed bill. Shelby County Capt. Clay Hammac spoke out with the statement, “Just because we put the word ‘medical’ in front of marijuana does not make it medicine.” 

AP news reports the lone vote was cast by Sen. Larry Stutts. In addition to Stutts, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall sent the Senate a letter with objections to the bill, too.

Where is marijuana legal in the U.S. today?

lead Alabama medical marijuana bill advances to the Senate. What it proposes.
Pardons for Progress conference 2019. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now. reports as of July 2019 this is where general marijuana laws stand:

  • Medical marijuana use is legal in 33 states and the district of Columbia
  • Recreational marijuana use is legal in 11 states and the district of Columbia

Keep in mind, Birmingham wants to legalize medical marijuana, not recreational. Each state varies, check out to see conditions.

Birmingham and marijuana laws

Obviously, no use of marijuana is legal in Birmingham. However, the city has touched on the subject.

Second chances for those with a marijuana conviction

Mayor Woodfin introduced Pardons for Progress in the fall of 2019. It offers a second chance for those in Birmingham with a single marijuana conviction. It extends to a single prior conviction of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, 2nd Degree. Additionally, the Office of the Mayor will consider a connected Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

CBD makes its introduction into the city—including a coffee shop

As a reminder, CBD does not contain the psychoactive component THC. However, even CBD oil had a tricky history in Alabama until the Farm Bill passed in 2018 was clarified: CBD from industrial hemp is legal in the state of Alabama.

Follow along to @now_bham on Twitter for updates on the proposed bill and what it means for Birmingham.

Irene Richardson
Irene Richardson
Articles: 385