The CARE Act, Alabama’s medical marijuana bill, saw a relatively easy path through the Senate but the House is poised to completely change the current bill.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, the bill, SB 236, will not be able to pass the House as it sits and the only way forward this session is to change the bill so that it creates a commission to study approaches, create regulations and recommend future legislation on medical marijuana.
There is some good news. The changes may not alter the original timeline for when a person would be able to be prescribed medical marijuana.
Under the current bill, a person would not be able to be prescribed marijuana until at least early 2021.
“We had it in the original bill that it didn’t start until 2021,” said Sen. Tim Melson, (R-Florence), the sponsor of the bill, on Thursday. “By doing this, we’re taking it a step at a time. We’ll get there at the end of the line at the same time. It wouldn’t delay us at all.”
The changes to the bill aim to please those in the House that have issues with the way marijuana would be prescribed and how medical marijuana would be administered and enforced.
“There were some issues concerning the way the marijuana, the THC drug would be prescribed,” said House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, (R-Monrovia), on Thursday. “There were some issues in the enforcement of that. There were some issues dealing with the way the drug would be administered.”
The goal is to get this bill passed so that a commission can be setup and provide feedback to lawmakers when the 2020 legislation session starts in February.
“The commission is charged with drafting the legislation to implement and to come up with their plan and how they’re going to do it,” said Rep. Mike Ball, (R-Madison), who is the sponsor of the House version of the bill. “It authorizes them to come up with a good plan that works. We want to give them authority with oversight and to make this work.”
Another key issue is Carly’s Law, which will expire if the CARE Act is not passed. Dustin Chandler, whose daughter Carly was the inspiration behind the law, says that he believes that the substitute bill will have Carly’s Law renewal in it as well.
“I haven’t read the sub yet however I believe CL [Carly’s Law] extension will be in there plus an expansion of the study as well,” Chandler said. “That’s what we wrote in the original and to include other universities [in the study].”
There will be a public hearing on Tuesday, May 28th at 10.AM. for anyone who would like to ask questions or share their views on the CARE ACT.