Alabama Moving Toward Medical Marijuana Approval

Alabama Moving Toward Medical Marijuana Approval

An Alabama State Senate committee has approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana. The legislation would allow patients 19 and older who are suffering from one of 33 conditions to qualify for medical marijuana.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on the bill by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, then voted to approve the bill.

The bill by Melson, who is a physician, would create a Medical Cannabis Commission, which would issue the cards and also licenses for the cultivation, production and sales of medical marijuana.

Dr. Jerzy Szaflarski is a professor of neurology at the University of Alabama Birmingham and supports legalizing marijuana. He said cannabis products are less harmful than other products for the treatment of pain.

“Many patients have run out of options,” Szaflarski said.

As Dr. Peter Grinspoon wrote in the Harvard Health Blog “The most common use for medical marijuana in the United States is for pain control. While marijuana isn’t strong enough for severe pain (for example, post-surgical pain or a broken bone), it is quite effective for the chronic pain that plagues millions of Americans, especially as they age. Part of its allure is that it is clearly safer than opiates (it is impossible to overdose on and far less addictive) and it can take the place of NSAIDs such as Advil or Aleve, if people can’t take them due to problems with their kidneys or ulcers or GERD.

Alabamans still must endure a full Senate vote and wonder what Governor Kay Ivey will do who has not commented publicly.

Medical cannabis was first approved in California 23 years ago. Since then, 32 additional states and the District of Columbia have approved marijuana for medical use.

Not all physicians are in favor. The Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center, stated the following in a Jan. 10, 2019 article by Paul Terpeluk, DO, Medical Director of Employee Health Services, titled “Should ‘Medical Marijuana’ Be Recommended for Patients? Why Our Answer Is ‘No,'” available at

“Q: As more states legalize ‘medical marijuana’, should it be recommended for patients?

A: At Cleveland Clinic, we believe there are better alternatives. In the world of healthcare, a medication is a drug that has endured extensive clinical trials, public hearings and approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Medications are tested for safety and efficacy. They are closely regulated, from production to distribution. They are accurately dosed, down to the milligram.

Thanks to our friends at for that quote.

We reported earlier this week that there is movement on the federal front as well. Marijuana is classified as schedule 1—in the same group with heroin. That designation has prevented serious study about the medical benefits of cannabis in the United States, the type of study that Dr. Terpeluk of the Cleveland Clinic proposes.

In addition to the 33 states and D.C. approved medical cannabis, 10 states now allow recreational use of marijuana.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Marijuana has been an issue at Bay for decades. Just as Alcohol or food it can and will be abused.
I am a retired RN. Many of my friends at Kansas City highschool smoked weed on school grounds patio no one stopped them 1960’s. Two friends bought speed for $10 at a physician office across from KUMC to use for weight loss every summer of high school but didn’t use it any other time. I was with them in the doc’s office when he gave it to them. One friend smoked one puff when pregnant told nurse doing history what she had done. She obtained a PHD and every job it was on her insurance she didn’t tell them it was passed on changed her rates. The 60’s and 70’s were drug heavy years. You could buy weed at school parking lot, skating rink, theatre, school, any where. They sold plants at garage sales for 10¢ a plant. Marijuana should have been used medically decades ago and by making it illegal America has an epidemic of marijuana abuser’s.
It can make change thinking process, alertness, and reaction time. Any medical medical medication even Tylenol when abused has side effects. By understanding, knowing, and be able to help others be responsible using marijuana.
Yes there are potheads, drug addicts, and deadly street drugs that kill.
Society has to have limits, safeguards, and laws to protect the innocent from any drug.
To use marijuana for chronic pain has to be evaluated on a patient to patient basis.
Like any drug someone will abuse it’s use and others become there collateral damage.


To class medical marijuana as heroin is ridiculous. Shows me they don’t know what they are doing. I am disabled but ambulatory and responsible. I have multiple sclerosis and other pain issues. I have had 3 major back surgeries including a fusion. So I am in pain most days. I wish it wasn’t so. The reality is that I am. Thank-you.

Lynne Hall

Mildred think you must of been high when you wrote this. Did you even get a High School Diploma?
Science has proven and is still workinng on the possible uses marijuana may hold.
What business do you actually run. A poll taken tears ago stated around 80% of college student used marijuana. With your line of thinking many things would not exist today if everyone was like you brother.
Facebook, Apple,s big steos forward, basically a lot of innovative minds dwould never have stood a chance.
While your brother stupidity to seek street drugs and alcohol doesn’t put him in their category.
I don’t drink or do street drugs.
Your brother needs professional help.
Marijuana never killed anyone, fact! And has shown promises.
Alcohol should be reclassified and is worse for society as a whole. More so than marijuana ever will be.

Mildred Bradway

Lets get the USA High with no brains or skills to work a job for 20 years. If I were an employer I would not hirer You. Pot-weed destroys Famiy. Pot smokers do are not stable’when stree hit hone’& iut tge’doir tgey go to tge bar to get even higher of street illegal illicit Drugs! Twice my brother was left dead becase of this his love eho was on pot!


Meanwhile, just as the Kratom Consumer Protection Act is passed in Utah and Georgia and gathers steam in Arizona, Oregon and other states, three states consider banning kratom altogether: Ohio, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

4729:9-1-01.1: Adds kratom as a schedule I controlled substance.
Comments on the proposed rules will be accepted until close of business on April 30, 2019 at Please also copy your comments to:

Rep Scott Conklin ( had a press conference (,1479849/ ) announcing his intention to introduce legislation banning kratom.

LA HB452 would add mitragynine and 7-hydroxy-mitragynine to their Schedule 1.

….and a recently opened shop selling CBD Oil shop in Louisiana is raided and the owner arrested on felony charges. (

It’s amazing how many people in public service want to put us in prison.

Brian Kelly

When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

Support Medical Marijuana Now!

“[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

“[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.” — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, “Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” 1995

“When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.” — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

“The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses’ Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine.” — National Nurses Society on Addict


I am so very happy for everyone that cannabis does help. I have tried to get it to work for me. I must be able to function and it just put me in the mattress, not on it. SMH. I really was hopping that it would help. I couldn’t get tolerable to the feeling.
I’m going to start on “their supplement ideas”. Millions of people in the country that one dietary supplement comes from, they have used for thousands of years. The CDC, well, they really have no business being in the pain business and stick to what the are supposed to be doing. I know this is being done to us on purpose, and is a PROHIBITION.
A war on people.
I would like to thank Russ Jones, Dr. Linda Cheek for putting information on these groups of like minded people. Just the words Doctors of Courage led me in the right direction to help with this insanity. Since the medication pulls I have to get mad to get physical things done, then in part after the adrenaline is gone I know I will be in more severe pain. But all this going on lit a fire under my butt. Taking our meds away does not make a miracle cure for pain. This is intentional. Another way to control everything in everyone’s life.
Happy for the CPP that cannabis helps. As for the rest of us?
Thanks a freakin’ lot. To all the gov related entities. I am biting my tongue on my real feelings on the finishing of this post. As I have a very thin threshold for the one with all the power, bullying those who have none.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

I am a chronic pain sufferer and medical marijuana or otherwise will not help me. 1. I cannot smoke it. 2. I don’t like the feeling of my brain being dumbed down. 3. I also have Narcolepsy. 4. I have suffered this daily pain for 30+ years. 5. I have been on Methadone for all these years. Methadone has worked and continues to work. 6. I see no logical way of even being successful taken off this opioid. Being in the same category as Morphine I have become as many Veterans from the several wars of the 19th. and 20Th. centuries. I am just of several million people in this same condition. If we are not taken seriously we are in danger of dying in withdrawal or suicide, which is already taking place among pain patients whether chronic or not. Doctors absolutely must get back their compassion and care which was theirs before allowing the government to scare them. A moral backbone is seriously lacking among those who should be caring for and doing what is necessary for the sick and dying in their care. The medical profession has traded their purpose in life for material gain. Their image and life style has taken precedence over their intended vocation. Greed and insanity started this and continues. We, the sick, disabled and dying are no longer patients who should be treated with respect and compassion, but have become customers in the business called medicine. Not all doctors are in this category, but many are. Opioid medication has been used for thousands of years, and nothing has or will be found to replace it. It is what the Creator in LOVE for His creatures has provided. Opioid receptors in our brains as well as the animal kingdom is not an accident that took place by the foolish idea of evolution. But spiritual blindness has been growing day by day. Medicine was a ministry among the Church until, little by little the teaching of evolution began to wipe it out. And this horrible thing sadly continues. When people believe this, trouble!


Marijuana, a schedule one drug the same as heroin, is legal in most states but we are denied opioids for our pain. Some of which are a lower schedule drugs. Where’s the logic. Our government has protected and or imported heroin to fund their wars for decades creating the real drug crisis of heroin addicts. This whole opioids crisis has nothing to do with people in pain. We are simply the softest target in an effort to save money and cover up the real crisis. My pain level is increasing while I’ve been tapered to less than one third of meds I took three years ago. That is creating a serious anger living in this amount of pain everyday. I know others are feeling the same way.


Requiring a chronicallly ill person to see 2 Docs PLUS a Specialist to get a card for MMJ seems prohibitive .. in practical and financial terms. Overkill..undue extreme burden on people who have exhausted sooo many options, and endured so much.


Great article Ed. I wasn’t aware the Alabama was close to legalizing Medical Marijuana. That’s good news. I had Dr. Grinspoon on The Chronically Human Podcast yesterday. His episode
will be out next week. He’s doing great work. Thanks for all that you do with The National Pain Report.


Plenty of studies. Google it. Last count well over 20,00.
The only reason people dont endorse pot is allegiance to pharmaceutical companies.

Brett Husebye

This is great for some people others pain is beyond what medical marijuana can provide. I agree that every tool should be used when addressing pain progressively. BUT this is not a replacement for opioid relief and should not be given to everyone at a local doctors office. Neither should opioids be the first thing given for chronic pain. For people with Fibromyalgia, I can say this, opioids did not cause my all over nerve pain. What caused it was overwork, working though the pain constantly and stress. And until someone learns how to roll back brain pain and central nervous system attacks we will always have pain some days worse than others. Opioids can cause some rebound pain OCCASIONALLY but it is because we are constantly in a state of flux. We should remain ready to try anything they come up with. But with the reminder there are risks with every medication. Even if they say there is not. Only take what your given and speak up when you are needing relief. No one should have to be stoned with opiates to have relief your dose should only be as big as your pain, blocking it keeping it in the background. Not many doctors will tell you this.

With medical marijuana they have different types of relief. CBD Oil. Chewables, and so on. Using this medication you may need to be stoned for relief. Just use it with wisdom.

Terri James

Seriously? Marijuana is safer than our life saving opioids? That’s why it’s been illegal for decades, right??? NO, the real reason is money. That’s what’s behind every little bit of this. For those of you that do use the oil or smoke pot and find some relief, I’m so very thankful that “something” is helping you. Me, I don’t want to set around stoned all day,( to my fellow pain warriors, I’m not saying that’s what you do) I care about every single one of you! Me… I want something that I KNOW is going to help my pain to where I can lead a productive life as I once use to and I know what that is; as do many of us. It should be a choice but what should be and what is these days are two different things altogether. I for one don’t want my little girl inhaling second hand smoke from it. If they have their way it will be everywhere and yes in the hands of those that don’t have one thing wrong with them. They’re claiming so many overdosed on our life-saving medicine?? Poppycock! I can just see what our youth will be hooked on next. Instead of going to college and being someone there will be yet “another” drug problem! Then again “they” don’t care, “they” just want that green stuff and I’m not talking about marijuana. I’m talking about money; it’s the root of all evil and one day they will pay and pay dearly for their greed and the way they’ve treated the American people not to mention our veterans that fought so hard to save this God forsaken country. I’m ashamed of our country and those that run it, being allowed to “play doctor!” One day they will regret their decisions when they or their loved ones are struck down by debilitating chronic pain and are no longer in government. All the money in the world won’t be able to help them then. I suppose they can just light up a joint, pat themselves on the back and wish to God they hadn’t have been so selfish not to mention so incredibly greedy and downright stupid!

Gary Raymond

Please, someone explain why we need Federal Law. Who decides which Federal Laws must be enforced and which to ignore? Perhaps Counties should ignore State laws. Better yet, I will listen to my father and ignore my mother. primus sit occidere omnes advocatorum

Molly K Canfield

I spoke with an attorney yesterday who informed me that legal action cannot be made against our government butwe could bring legal action against a private individual or private company both of which would be for profit. Would it be feasible to bring legal action against these for-profit pharmacies who are controlling our healthcare?!?!

Alan thurman

Just legalize it already!!!


Folks you are aware that anyone who receives a medical marajuania card , is turned down to purchase a firearm. And or a concealed carry permit. Not that one has anything to do with the other, none the less, many chronic pain patients have suffered the troubling guidelines of irrelevant forces that have made the medical profession a worthless tool.
Something’s to ponder . Chronic pain patients have already given up far too much.