Alabama Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Initiative

process. Full strength medical marijuana is still illegal in Alabama. The cannabis industry started in Alabama in 2014 when the Governor signed Senate Bill 174, also known as Carly’s Law, which made it legal for seizure patients with a prescription from a licensed physician to possess and use low-THC marijuana extracts.

To begin to broaden the legal use of medical marijuana in the state, in June of 2019, the Governor signed into law a bill that would set up a medical marijuana commission to study the issue of legalization. The commission was tasked with providing recommendations to the Alabama Legislature in 2020 on how to implement a medical cannabis program. In December, the newly created study commission came back with its report, which recommended medical marijuana be legalized.

Most recently, the Senate passed SB 165, which would establish a state Medical Cannabis Commission to register patients and oversee licensing businesses. Under the measure, patients suffering from specified conditions would qualify for the program. Those include anxiety, cancer, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Patients would be able to purchase up to a 70-day supply at a time, and there would be a cap of 32 dispensaries allowed in the state. Products would be tested for potency and contaminants, and sales from licensed dispensaries would be subject to a nine percent tax. Part of those funds would go toward creating a new Consortium for Medical Cannabis Research, which would provide grants to study the plant.

Alabama would be the 34th state to legalize medical marijuana. The Senate ultimately passed SB 165 as substituted on the floor and then subsequently amended on the floor 10 times. The vote on passage was 22-11. The respective votes on the various amendments, including additional ones that failed, can be found here. The legislation will now go to the House to consider. If you are interested in pursuing a marijuana business license in Alabama then contact us for an initial consultation.

About the Author: In his law practice Mr. Donnini's primary practice is multi-state sales and use tax as well as state corporate income tax controversy. Mr. Donnini also practices in the areas of federal tax controversy, federal estate planning, Florida probate, and all other state taxes including communication service tax, cigarette & tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and Native American taxation. Mr. Donnini obtained his LL.M. in Taxation at NYU. Mr. Donnini is licensed to practice law in Florida. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact him via email [email protected] or phone at 954-639-4496