Alabama House of Representatives Committee to Consider Medical Marijuana Legislation

By bluntshell · Apr 7, 2010 · ·
  1. bluntshell
    MONTGOMERY, AL -- On Wednesday, the Alabama House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on HB 642, the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act. Prior to the hearings, members of Alabamians for Compassionate Care will hold a press conference at the Capitol.

    The legislation, introduced by Rep. Patricia Todd, would allow patients suffering from certain debilitating and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis to use and possess medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. The bill would also allow for the licensing of centers where qualifying patients could safely access medical marijuana. The program would be administered by the Alabama Department of Health.

    "I have known dozens of people with HIV who have benefited from using marijuana, and I believe this should be a medical option,” said bill sponsor Rep. Patricia Todd, (D-54, Birmingham). “I have seen many people I love experience severe pain and I know I would have done anything in my power to relieve it".

    Patients, doctors, and advocates were ecstatic that the legislation, which they have been supporting for over nearly five years, is finally being taken up by Alabama legislators.

    Currently, fourteen states, and the District of Columbia, have passed similar medical marijuana legislation allowing patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and possess medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.

    "As an adult with chronic pain, why is perfectly fine to take the prescriptions my doctor gives me to the point of addiction, but it illegal for me to use a substance the US government has been giving out medicinally to certain patients since the 70's?,” asked patient Christopher Butts of Cullman, AL. “Shouldn’t my doctor be able to recommend the best treatments for me? Doesn’t my family have the right to live without the fear of police arresting me for using medicine that helps?”

    A 2004 poll administered by the Mobile Register/University of South Alabama found that 76% of Alabamians support allowing access to medical marijuana as recommended by a physician. And 2010 ABC News/Washington Post national poll found that 81% of those polled, including 68% of Conservatives and 72% of Republicans, think that doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana to their patients.

    Hundreds of local and national organizations support allowing physicians to recommend, and patients to access, medical marijuana for certain debilitating conditions, including The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Bar Association, and American Public Health Association.

    “Alabama patients suffering from cancer and other illnesses today are criminals for using medical marijuana, while patients in New Jersey and thirteen other states are not,” said Loretta Nall, executive director of Alabamians for Compassionate Care, a group of patients, family members and community members calling for changes to the law. “If marijuana is good medicine for patients in 14 states and the District of Colombia, then it is good medicine for patients in Alabama and they should have safe access to it under their doctor’s care. It's time to pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in Alabama. This is a states rights issue and the patients and physicians in Alabama need protection.”

    Alabamians for Compassionate Care

    Loretta Nall: 256-625-9599
    Gabriel Sayegh 646-335-2264


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  1. gmeziscool2354
    Re: Alabama House of Representatives Committee to Consider Medical Marijuana Legislat

    So this initiative is being pushed foremost by a republican family woman? My the world is a changing place
  2. chillinwill
    Re: Alabama House of Representatives Committee to Consider Medical Marijuana Legislat

    Alabama House panel OKs bill to legalize marijuana for medical use

    A House legislative committee approved a bill Wednesday that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, but the bill's sponsor said a vote by the full Alabama Legislature is unlikely this session.

    The bill would legalize marijuana for use in easing symptoms of such diseases and disabilities as cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and chronic pain.

    The bill is called the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act, named after a man who had a brain tumor that caused frequent seizures and who fought to make medical marijuana legal. Philips died in 2007 at the age of 38.

    Jackie Phillips, Michael Phillips' mother, said marijuana was the only thing that made him able to function normally.

    Without it, she said, he had seven or eight seizures a day.

    "I could see the difference in him when he smoked and when he didn't," Phillips said.

    Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, the bill's sponsor, said she would like to see the bill passed this session but acknowledged that that was unlikely with only five days remaining.

    "I know this is not an easy bill to come forth and vote for," Todd told the committee. "My intent is to help people who are hurting."

    Under the bill, patients with diseases treatable with marijuana would be able to buy it in small amounts from licensed
    clinics or grow it at their homes.

    Patients would be required to have an identification card to purchase and possess marijuana.

    Ronald Crumpton of Pelham was one of the supporters of the bill who was on hand at the State House on Wednesday.

    Crumpton uses a wheelchair because of a back condition and has been prescribed multiple medicines.

    The harmful effects of marijuana would be less, he said, than the effects of daily use of multiple prescription drugs such as Percocet and Valium.

    John Radvillas of Cullman said marijuana also could replace some of the medications he currently takes for multiple sclerosis, some of which cost up to $2,000 a month.

    You don't have to use enough marijuana to get high in order to control symptoms such as ataxia, which makes it difficult to walk, Radvillas said.

    "A very small amount (of marijuana) is all you need," he said.

    Several members of the committee expressed concerns with the bill.

    Rep. Yusuf Salaam, D-Selma, said he worries that the bill would make it possible for people to use marijuana illegally under the pretense of using it medically.

    Salaam also said he fears legalization of medical marijuana would open a "Pandora's box" and lead to more widespread legalization of the drug.

    Some questioned how the state would pay for the added costs of regulating the use of medical marijuana.

    Republican Rep. Steve McMillan of Gulf Shores added an amendment to the bill that would make the fees for ID cards sufficient to cover the costs.

    Rep. Spencer Collier, R-Bayou Le Batre, said he worries about the obstacles the bill could create for law enforcement agencies.

    Collier added an amendment to the bill that law enforcement could presume that marijuana is being used illegally until it is proven otherwise.

    Collier still voted not to approve the bill.

    "I don't know if I can support this bill -- probably ever," he said.

    Rep. John Robinson, D-Scottsboro, said he supports the bill but added that he believes medical marijuana should be "under the lock and key of law enforcement."

    Randy Garrick of Whatley said marijuana is one of the only drugs that works to ease the chronic pain he suffers from disabilities he developed as a military veteran.

    Garrick said that other medications made him disoriented and that one even caused heart arrythmia. Marijuana, he added, was more effective and without the side effects.

    "I had an appetite. I could sleep. I knew who I was and what I was doing," Garrick said.

    While it might have been effective, it also was illegal.

    Garrick said he is now on probation for a marijuana arrest and no longer uses it. He now has been prescribed morphine, he added.

    "I'm not happy about it, but it's the only thing I can take," he said.

    By Scott Johnson
    April 8, 2010
    Montgomery Advertiser
  3. purplehaze
    Re: Alabama House of Representatives Committee to Consider Medical Marijuana Legislat

    We just banned salvia for being "like marijuana", and last week arrested a 40yo man that was smoking pot in a building that was most likely used for a garage of sorts, the net team got wind of this activity via neighbors suspecting drug activity, a flashbang grenade was used to breach the 40yo mans house to arrest him.

    Around 5or 6 months ago we banned a wine that had a nude picture from 1895 of a woman riding a bike, apparently this picture was not just the company's doodle, but art that represents womens freedom, now they market their product as banned in Alabama.

    This state doesn't follow the understand and research approach before banning anything. I don't see this passing for a while, or until every other state in the U.S. has passed it first.

    Thanks for the up though.
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