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Alabama Medical Pot Bill Advances in State Legislature

By Eric Volkman - Feb 19, 2020 at 7:51PM

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Senate Bill 165 sails through a judiciary committee vote.

Alabama is one quick step closer to legalizing medical cannabis. On Wednesday, a bill in the state's senate surmounted its first hurdle, as it easily passed in that body's judiciary committee. The vote was eight in favor, and one against, with one abstaining.

Senate Bill 165 can now advance to the senate floor for a full vote.

The bill was introduced last week by state senator Tim Melson, a Republican. It calls for marijuana use to be permitted for qualifying patients with any of 15 conditions that range from chronic pain to cancer.

Additionally, it would not permit cannabis to be sold in a form that can be smoked, only in derviatives like gummies and gels. If passed, the state's medical marijuana law would be among the more restrictive in the U.S.

Marijuana leaf with stethoscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

Although advocates professed to be satisfied with the advancement of the bill, Alabama has been down this road before. A previous bill introduced by Melson last year passed a senate vote, but effectively died in the state's house of representatives. Opponents of the current measure include the state's attorney general Steve Marshall.

Alabama is fairly typical of Southern states in its historic resistance to marijuana law liberalization. Of its neighbors, only Florida permits the sale of medical cannabis.

As such, it's possible that Florida marijuana companies such as Trulieve Cannabis (TCNNF -0.65%) will get involved in the market if and when SB 165 passes. Trulieve describes itself as "the first and leading medical cannabis company" in that state, and it's reasonable to think it'll try to duplicate that feat in Alabama.

Trulieve's shares closed down slightly on Wednesday. 

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