The South is notoriously known for its tough-on-crime stance when it comes to cannabis. Slowly but surely, there are measures taking place to finally address the injustices and incarceration rates when it comes to marijuana-related cases below the Mason-Dixon line. Alabama, specifically, is getting ready to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes and it’s beginning to take shape.
Recently, the first steps were taken to create a commission specifically focused on cannabis legalization. The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission was created after Gov. Kay Ivey signed a medical cannabis law into power. The commission will be tasked with overlooking the medicinal cannabis industry in the state, including registering patients, issuing cards, and licensing cannabis-related facilities that process, test, transport, or sell medicinal cannabis.
Cultivators for medicinal cannabis will have to go through licensing with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. However, the biggest news to come about the medical commission is that Gov. Ivey already revealed nominees for the board.
Kay Ivey appointed health and finance experts to build the state body. Montgomery pulmonologist Dr. Williams Saliski, Birmingham-based pharmacist Sam Blakemore, and president of HNB National Bank, Dwight Gamble have been nominated for the board.
Both House Speaker Mac McCutcheon and Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth expanded the commission with well-rounded nomination choices including more health and legal experts. Ainsworth’s picks included Dr. Angela Martin, a pediatrician, Birmingham attorney Loree Skelton, and Eric Jensen, a biochemist. Meanwhile, McCutcheon procured experts in mental health, substance abuse, and agriculture. Vice President of the Alabama Farmers Federation Rex Vaughn and retired Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Charles Price have also been nominated for the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.
There has been some hesitancy towards medical legalization. A few district attorneys have pushed to have the medical marijuana bill rejected. However, it seems that Gov. Ivey is still moving forward with the state’s plans. Unfortunately for medicinal users, they’ll have to wait until 2022 in order to allow businesses to set up and apply for the proper licenses.