In early May 2021, Alabama took a significant step toward becoming the 39th state to legalize medical marijuana. After a nearly nine-hour bipartisan debate, the state Senate passed an amended version of the Alabama Compassionate Act, Senate Bill 46 (SB 46), 68-34. Governor Kay Ivey signed SB 46 on May 17, 2021 - marking a significant win in the Heart of Dixie state.
The measure created a medical cannabis commission to regulate, license, and oversee the distribution of medical marijuana. Doctors can prescribe medical marijuana for several conditions, including cancer, a terminal illness, epilepsy, and chronic pain. Patients will receive medical cannabis cards, and vaping or smoking of medical marijuana will be prohibited while products including gummies, oils, or creams will be allowed.
Because the underlying qualifications for a patient to register for a medical card are non-restrictive, this could lead to a large influx of MMJ patients. However, the bill prohibits smoking flowers, vaping, and edibles, leaving patients to purchase capsules, lozenges, oils, suppositories and topical patches.
The state issued its 21 licenses after taking in a pool of over 90 applicants. It's unclear yet which operators received the licenses.
While licenses have been issued and sales are set to begin soon, many questions regarding regulation of the industry remain.
No market activity at this time.
It has been a long time coming since the time of medical legalization, but Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Director, John McMillan, predicts roll out of their medical program to commence in late 2023 or early 2024.
As stated, licenses have been issued but much about the program is unclear. Operators should keep a close eye on the state as regulation is put in place and sales begin. Regulators have stated that more licenses will be issued as demand in the state is better understood, should the opportunity arise, operators should make a play at the state.