MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — After a nearly two-hour debate, the Mobile City Council voted in favor of allowing medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits of Mobile, but the vote did not come easily.
Many came to council to speak for and against the ordinance which would allow Mobile to become one of the cities in Alabama to allow dispensaries. Some citizens wished the council not to vote in favor of it.
“I ask that you please exercise your wise authority,” said one lady as she spoke to the council before they voted. “And not allow the proliferation of marijuana in the city of Mobile.”
Some were in favor of the dispensaries including former Mobile Mayor Mike Dow.
“A lot of people that have serious medical problems are going to be blessed with what is occurring right now in the industry,” said Dow.
City Councilman Ben Reynolds of District 4 wanted to push a motion to have the vote pushed to February because he had some unanswered questions regarding how the dispensaries would operate within city limits.
However, his motion was denied, and the vote was 5-2 with Councilmen Scott Jones and Reynolds voting against it.
“Mobile lost today,” said Jones. “And we’re not going to see that today or tomorrow; we’re going to start seeing that when the first dispensary opens up. And you start seeing the negative impacts because it’s, it’s a psychological shift. Now that’s just going to happen, where it’s okay to do marijuana.”
Many spoke against dispensaries coming to Mobile because of concerns about people using marijuana recreationally.
John McMillan, the Executive Director of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, said this is not the intent of medical marijuana use.
“The legislature went to great lengths,” said McMillan. “And you might say extreme lengths to be sure that this is tightly regulated, the products are safe, and only gonna be recommended for patients that meet the need those medications.”
Up to 37 dispensaries are coming to Alabama in total. However, the vote doesn’t mean the dispensaries will be coming to Mobile. The state will choose who to give a license to and then the person with a license will choose where to set up.
According to McMillan, he hopes June 12 is the final date to approve all applications for the licenses.