A new bill has been introduced to legalize medical cannabis in Alabama. Somewhat unusually, it was put forth by a Republican.
State Sen. Tim Melson introduced the bill, which is restrictive compared to medical cannabis laws enacted in other states. It would limit marijuana use to patients who suffer from certain ailments, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PSD), anxiety, and cancer. However, those with other afflictions would be able to appeal to the state for qualification.
This is not Melson's first attempt; a similar bill passed in the state Senate last year, but did not make it through its House of Representatives.
While stating explicitly that the proposal is not intended to encourage the legalization of recreational cannabis use, the bill notes that "[t]here are residents in Alabama suffering from a number of medical conditions whose symptoms could be alleviated by the administration of medical cannabis products."
As a region, the Deep South remains resistant to the liberalization of marijuana laws. None of Alabama's four neighboring states has legalized the recreational use of cannabis, and only one -- Florida -- permits marijuana's medical use to a reasonable extent.
That a Republican lawmaker is the bill's lead sponsor is also atypical, as that party's elected officials are generally more opposed to legalization than are Democrats.
If Melson's bill makes it through the legislative process and becomes law, one company likely to target Alabama would be Trulieve Cannabis (OTC:TCNNF). The busy and active cannabis operator is based in Florida, and would likely view the adjacent state as an attractive market for expansion.
On Friday, a fine day for marijuana stocks generally, Trulieve shares closed 4% higher.