Emerson Rensink | The Anti-Media
Alabama Legalizes Medical Marijuana, Two Other States May Soon Follow
On March 21, Alabama lawmakers unanimously passed a bill to allow the use of medical marijuana, becoming the latest state in the U.S. and the first in the South to approve marijuana law reform. Image credit: Goodnight London
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The legislation still awaits the signature of Ala. Gov. Robert Bentley, who previously voiced approval of the bill and stated he would sign it if passed.
The bill, named “Carly’s Law” is named after Carly Chandler, an epileptic 3-year-old Alabaman. The legislation was conceived after her parents lobbied state legislators and the governor for legal access to medical marijuana for their daughter.
The bill also sets aside $1 million for further research at the University of Alabama-Burmingham on the health benefits of cannabidiol, or CBD, the type of marijuana commonly used by medical patients and the kind approved by Carly’s Law.
In an interview with AP, Gena Dalton, the mother of a child who suffers from chronic seizures due to Dravet Syndrome, expressed her surprise at the bill’s passage. “It’s like a miracle. This does not happen in Alabama. We are the most conservative state.”
Most marijuana law reform to date has occurred in more liberal states on the east and west coasts. However, the bill passed in a state that ranked the most conservative in the U.S. according to a 2012 Gallup Poll. In fact, the bill’s author was Republican State Rep. Mike Ball.
Alabama Media Group’s J.D. Crowe penned an op-ed earlier this month urging for the passage of the bill, asking for bipartisanship. “This shouldn’t be a political issue. It’s not a conservative or a liberal issue. It’s a purely medical, do-the-right-thing issue. A human rights issue.”
Image credit: New York Times
So far, 2014 has proved to be a good year for marijuana legalization proponents. While medical marijuana can only be obtained by those with a doctor’s prescription, it has been a stepping stone in other areas of the country toward decriminalization of recreational marijuana use, and in Washington and Colorado, full-scale legalization.
Once signed into law, Alabama will join the ranks of 20 other states, plus the District of Columbia, where medical marijuana is already legal. As previously reported, Washington D.C.’s council also recently passed legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession under an ounce.
On the same day Alabama approved its legislation, Oregon began handing out its first medical marijuana licences to dispensaries.
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Emerson Rensink is an Olympia-trans*planted activist, organizer and citizen journalist. He helped organize the global March Against Monsanto in May 2013. In addition to writing for The Anti-Media, Emerson’s work can be found at Center for a Stateless Society. In his free time, Emerson likes to watch depressing documentaries and find funny, pointless things on the Internet.
Follow Emerson on Twitter: @emersonrensink