An Alabama Senate committee on Thursday approved a very controversial bill requiring women of “childbearing age” to prove they’re not pregnant in order to buy medical marijuana products from dispensaries.
Lawmakers amended the bill to make it even more restrictive. Doctors can’t issue medical cannabis recommendations to women between 13-50 “without first obtaining a negative pregnancy test from the patient.”
The Senate Children, Youth, and Human Services Committee passed the amended SB 324. The bill, sponsored by the execrable Sen. Larry Stutts (R), passed in a 7-2 vote. It then advanced to a second reading in the full chamber hours later. Rules require a third reading before the bill is sent to the Alabama House.
Creating Restrictions For Women Medical Marijuana Patients
The bill would create restrictions for women who participate in the state’s very limited medical marijuana program. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law last year.
The bill requires women 25 to 50 to produce “a negative pregnancy test either from her physician or documentation from a certified medical lab that has been ordered by a physician licensed in Alabama.”
The bill, understandably, faces sharp resistance from drug policy and civil rights activists. But that just encourages radically conservative Alabama politicians like Larry Stutts. They, after all, often seem on a quest to out-dumb each other in performative politics.
Even More Intrusive Than It First Appears
SB24 is even more intrustive than it appears at first blush.
The bill’s langugage mandates that negative pregnancy tests required for women “must be dated within 48 hours of purchase.” This bill requires this ”before she may purchase any medical cannabis except in the capacity as a registered caregiver.”
It goes on to say that “any registered qualified patient who becomes pregnant shall report her pregnancy status to her registered certifying physician and shall be prohibited from obtaining medical cannabis throughout the pregnancy.”
“All Alabamians Should Be Alarmed”
The bill also mandates that no dispensaries can be located within 1,000 feet of a daycare center or “institution of higher education.”
“All Alabamians should be alarmed that the Senate is considering a bill that would blatantly violate the Constitutional rights of women who need medical marijuana,” said staff attorney Emma Roth, at National Advocates For Pregnant Women. “SB 324 is not grounded in science, and will not actually improve maternal or infant health outcomes.”
“In fact, SB 324 would block pregnant women who need prescribed medical marijuana from receiving it,” Roth said. ”Even when she and her doctor agree it is in the best interest of her health and her pregnancy. Pre-existing medical conditions do not disappear when someone becomes pregnant.”
Stutts Should Know Better… But He’s Proudly Ignorant
Bill sponsor Stutts is an obstetrician who, absent his willful, preening ignorance, would know better. Nevertheless, he said in a recent interview “we need some parameters” on the medical marijuana program.
“But it is in place,” Stutts said, with the melodramatic, self-romanticizing Lost Cause fervor sadly typical of bigoted Alabama politicians.
Stutts — surprise, surprise — is against the entire idea of medicinal Cannabis. But even setting that aside, this frightened little man is a real sleazy piece of shit.
This OB/GYN Comes With A Safety Warning
Stutts’ first act as an Alabama lawmaker was trying to repeal a 1999 law named in memory of a woman who died under his care the previous year.
That’s right: The sleazebag senator came into the spotlight in 2015 when he introduced a bill that sought to overturn Rose’s Law. That Alabama law requires insurers to provide at least 48 hours of hospitalization for women following childbirth.
The law is named for Rose Church. She was a patient of Stutts who died after complications from childbirth. Stutts didn’t tell fellow lawmakers that he treated Church and had been sued by the family for malpractice.