The Alabama Medical Marijuana Commission has only had a grand total of one meeting so far. It doesn’t seem particularly promising that there’s already talk in a delay of Cannabis availability to patients who need it.
The chairman of the group that will oversee Alabama’s new medical marijuana industry expressed concern Wednesday that the timeline for making Cannabis treatment available may be slower than expected.
Chairman Tries To Establish Alabama Timeline
Dr. Steven Stokes of Dothan, chairman of the commission, tried to establish a timeline for how soon treatment with medical marijuana will be available in Alabama.
“I was hoping next spring,” Dr Stokes said.
September 1, 2022, is the deadline for medical marijuana cultivation licensing required by law. Patrick Moody, deputy commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture doesn’t expect licenses for medical marijuana growers will be issued before then. Is bureaucratic obstructionism involved? We can’t say. The 2022 growing season, in any event, is seemingly already over before it even begins.
Medical marijuana growers won’t cultivate the herb until licenses are issued. But it would still take three to four months for a crop to be ready for processing. Medical Cannabis dispensaries won’t even have a product to sell until at least 2023. Physicians who will prescribe medical marijuana must also go through a training program.
“We can’t do anything else till we plant a plant,” Stokes said. “We need to move everything forward.”
No Smoking, No Flowers, No Growing
The Legislature passed a bill in May to legalize and regulate the production and use of medical marijuana products in Alabama. Whilst surrounded with a discernible whiff of self-congratulation, most lawmakers involved neglected to mention how just weak a law they’d passed.
The most glaring deficits of the bill are that it allows neither any form of smoking, nor any Cannabis flowers. It is still illegal for patients to grow their own medicine. Many of them are low-income and will struggle to pay dispensary prices.
The bill forbids smoking, vaping, or ingesting cannabis in baked goods. Consumption of cannabis in tablet, capsule, gelatin, or vaporized oil form is permissible. Rather oddly, the bill requires any cannabis gummies manufactured to have one flavor. This is supposedly to reduce the appeal of gummies to kids.
Alabama this year became the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
About 15 Conditions/Symptoms Covered
Doctors will be able to recommend medical cannabis products to patients for about 15 categories of conditions and symptoms.
Covered under the bill are Autism; cancer-related weight loss, or chronic pain; Crohn’s; depression; epilepsy or condition causing seizures; HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss; panic disorder; Parkinson’s; persistent nausea not related to pregnancy; PTSD; sickle cell; spasticity associated with diseases including ALS and multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries; terminal illnesses; Tourette’s; chronic pain for which conventional therapies and opiates should not be used or are ineffective.