Alabama marijuana commission divided on medical, recreational use

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission was created as a result of legislation to study the pros and cons of medical marijuana.

On Monday, the commission met for the second time, all with the goal to study the issue and find a plan that could fit Alabama.

The state is looking to join 33 other states when it comes to legalizing medical marijuana, but the question is how does the state get there.

“Aren’t we just inching toward recreational marijuana,” Shelby County District Attorney Jill Lee said.

A lot of focus at the meeting Monday was on the difference between medical and recreational marijuana, but this commission’s goal is to study the medical effects.

“I don’t understand why anyone at this committee table would not find a way some compassionate humane way,” Sen. Tim Melson said.

During the meeting, Melson was frustrated at times by the opposition to his plan of legalizing medicinal marijuana. People like psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Taylor are a part of that opposition.

“Young people hear that this is medicine obviously it’s not harmful so they are more likely to use it,” Taylor said.

On the other side of this argument are people like Aretha Dix, a licensed hemp grower who supports legalization.

“We have children we have adults we have veterans, we have people that are actually suffering and we have people in those categories that have actually received benefits from it and in any case anything can be abused,” Dix said.

In the future, the commission plans to bring people from the 34 state’s that have legalized medical marijuana.

The commission will meet every month until the end of the year and then recommend legislation to lawmakers on the issue by next session. They will have until Dec. 1 to come up with a bill.

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