The Alabama State Senate approved SB46 – to allow registered patients to use and access medical cannabis preparations – on February 4th, 2021. The House of Representatives returned a modified version of the bill on May 6th, which was approved by the Senate, and Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill, also known as The Darren Wesley “Ato” Hall Compassion Act, into law on Monday, May 17, 2021.
Applicants to the program must have a qualifying condition and a physician’s certification, and pay a $65 fee to register as a patient. Minors are eligible for the program, but may not receive products with more than 3% THC. Medical cannabis products carry a 9% sales tax.
Unlike other states, medical marijuana possession in Alabama is measured in doses. A registered patient may possess up to 70 daily doses at a time. Dosage for each qualifying condition is determined by the 14-member Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, with most cases capped at 50mg of THC per day.
At this time, there are no legal protections for medical cannabis users at work, and employers may still prohibit, and test for, cannabis use.
Under Alabama law, registered patients may purchase up to 60 daily doses at a time. A dose is defined as as the administration of cannabis thorugh one of the state's approved ocnsumption methods. Medicinal cannabis may only be administered via:
Approved Consumption Methods:
- Gelatin cubes
- Transdermal patches
Smoking, vaporizing, and baked goods are prohibited at this time. Additionally, any gelatinous edibles must not resemble candy or anything that appeals to minors.
Qualifying minors may not receive products with greater than 3% THC, and patients under 19 years will need a parent/guardian or caregiver to pick up their prescription for them.
Registered medical cannabis patients are legally allowed to consume state-approved cannabis products in private residences only. Consumption (even possession) of cannabis products are banned on K-12 school property, child care facilities, and correctional facilities. Additionally, smoking and vaping cannabis products are both prohibited. Only state-approved consumption methods (see above) are allowed.
Alabama residents, including minors, may qualify for the medical cannabis program with one of the following conditions:
Qualifying Medical Marijuana Conditions in Alabama:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Cancer-related cachexia, nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss, or chronic pain
- Crohn's Disease
- Epilepsy or a condition causing seizures
- HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss
- Panic disorder
- Parkinson's disease
- Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to pregnancy, cannabis-induced cyclical vomiting syndrome, or cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Spasticity associated with a motor neuron disease, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis or a spinal cord injury
- Terminal illness
- Tourette's Syndrome
- A condition causing chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or has proved ineffective
Alabama’s medical cannabis laws allow for designated caregivers, who may purchase and possess medical cannabis on behalf of other patients. Details in SB46 are sparse, but will likely be more defined by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.
Private or residential cultivation is prohibited. Only licensed commercial cultivation is legal in Alabama and is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Industries.
There is no language in SB46 regarding the delivery of cannabis in Alabama.
Driving Under the Influence
SB46 prohibits anyone from “performing any task under the influence of cannabis that would constitute negligence, professional malpractice, or professional misconduct.”
Cannabis may only be possessed in a vehicle if it is still sealed in its original packaging, and “reasonably inaccessible” while the vehicle is moving.