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Alabama Senate Passes Medical Pot Bill

By Eric Volkman - Mar 16, 2020 at 5:38PM

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The proposed legislation now moves to the state's House of Representatives.

A medical marijuana legalization initiative has been overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate of Alabama. That body approved Senate Bill 165, which allows for the sale and consumption of that form of the drug, albeit with significant restrictions. The bill now moves to the state's House of Representatives for a vote in that body.

The bill is quickly making its way through the Alabama legislature. It was introduced into the Senate in mid-February, somewhat surprisingly by a Republican Senator. That Senator, Tim Melson, had previously introduced proposed legislation that was very similar; although that measure passed in the Senate, it stalled in the House.

Bowl of marijuana atop a handwritten paper ballot.

Image source: Getty Images

The current bill limits the prescription and use of medical cannabis to people suffering from a relatively short list of 15 ailments ranging from anxiety to cancer. Additionally, it would be available only in certain forms; the bill specifically excludes marijuana flower, for one.

Alabama is typical for a state in the Southeastern U.S., in that it hasn't legalized for either recreational or medical use. The only notable exception in the area is Florida, which sanctioned the sale and use of medical cannabis in 2016.

If Alabama's SB 165 passes into law, it's likely that marijuana companies in neighboring Florida will at least consider entering the market. Trulieve Cannabis (TCNNF 1.09%) is a major player in the state, claiming to hold around 50% of its cannabis market. Trulieve has not publicly expressed a desire to expand into neighboring states, although given its prominence in Florida and its experience, this would be a sensible move.

On Monday, Trulieve's stock was down by more than 8% in late market trading.

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