Saturday, April 02, 2011

HB386 Medical Marijuana Bill Filed in Alabama House

On Thursday HB386 The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act was filed in the Alabama House of Representatives by Rep. Patricia Todd (D- Birmingham). It has been assigned to the health committee.

Please contact the members of the Health Committee and ask them to pass this bill when it comes before them. Here is the letter I sent. Feel free to use it as a template and include your own personal story for wanting this bill passed.


Here is the email contact info for members of the health committee. If you had rather call then that info can be found here.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Dear Honorable Members of the House Health Committee,

My name is Loretta Nall and I am executive director of Alabamians for Compassionate Care, a group of patients, physicians, family members and caregivers working to pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in Alabama. This is our 8th year of working to get our bill passed out of the House. Last session it passed the judiciary committee for the first time.

On Thursday March 31, Rep. Patricia Todd our bill sponsor introduced HB386 into the House and it was assigned to the health committee.

Under this bill patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, MS, wasting syndrome, epilepsy, chronic pain and other debilitating medical conditions would be legally able to use marijuana with a recommendation from their doctor. Physicians who recommend and patients who use medical marijuana would be protected from prosecution under state law. This bill would in no way make it legal for anyone without a recommendation to use marijuana. Considering that the state is now looking at releasing non-violent drug offenders (many of whom are convicted of marijuana related offenses) and lowering penalties for personal possession it only makes sense to take medical marijuana users out of the prison equation. It costs $15,223 per year per prisoner just to house them in the DoC and that is if they are healthy. If they are suffering from one of the conditions listed above that cost rises exponentially.

More importantly it is morally wrong to imprison sick people for trying to feel better sand manage the symptoms of their illness. Just last week the National Cancer Institute admitted that THC the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is anti-tumor. Here is what they had to say on their website. National Cancer Institute: Cannabis and Cancer

Another reason to support this bill is the potential tax revenue that will be generated. This week the Washington Times estimated that the medical cannabis industry is worth $1.7 billion. In Colorado, which has a population close in size to that of Alabama, the medical marijuana industry has generated $9 million in tax revenue and fees in the last year and generates $50,000 a month in new application fees.

15 states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana legislation. It is time Alabama followed suit. The citizens of Alabama deserve all the same choices that patients in the other states where medical marijuana is legal have. Also, the VA (Veterans Administration) recently said that it would no longer enforce pain contracts against veterans using medical marijuana in states where it is legal. That leaves veterans in Alabama, many of whom use medical marijuana to treat their PTSD, subject to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment under state law. This is beyond wrong. Our veterans deserve better than that.

It can be argued that since the District of Columbia and the VA are both governed by the federal government that medical use of marijuana is no longer illegal under federal law.

Please give this bill consideration and vote YES when it comes before you in a few weeks. Members of Alabama Compassionate Care will be in Montgomery next week and following weeks to meet with you about this bill and answer your questions. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.



sixstring said...

I notice several members of the Health Committee are former pharma reps. I wonder how that may influence their opiniions.
And the chairman is a doctor...

manfood said...

Does Bentley have to agree to sign this bill? I'm pretty sure I know how he stands on it, but I should ask anyway?

Chase said...

So Loretta, if the health committee passes it, where does it go from there, and how soon can we expect to hear some details?


Loretta Nall said...


If we get it out of the health committee (and we do have the votes to do that) then it will go to the house floor for a full debate. If it passes the House then it will go to the Senate and go through a committee there and then the full Senate. If it passes the Senate it will go to the Governor's desk for his signature.

We should know by Thursday or Friday if it will be on the calendar next week.

Right now, even though we have the votes to get it out of health committee, we are having problems with the Chair of that committee, Jim McLendon. He is afraid to put it on the calendar because he is afraid his constituents don't support it. We are applying pressure from both inside the House and from outside. If you know anyne in Shelby or St. Clair county please have them call McLendon and let him know they support it. You should also call and get everyone else you know to do the same.

Anonymous said...

But is Bentley adamantly opposed as I presume? Has he made any statement about his position?

Loretta Nall said...

Gov. Bentley hasn't made any statements for or against medical marijuana. When he was still in the legislature we always rated him a 'maybe' after conversations we had while conducting a poll of the legislators to gauge their stance on this issue.

The good thing about Gov. Bentley is that he is a physician and has the medical knowledge to understand the scientific studies on marijuana. I think he could be convinced to do the right thing should this bill make it to his desk.

Chase said...

Well, we can only hope.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if this bill made it out of the health committee? The alison database says its still in the committee, however, this Anniston Star article says it made it through and could be voted on later this year if the House reconvenes?

Loretta Nall said...

anon the bill was never placed on the calendar this session. Could you provide a link to the Anniston Star article you are referring to, please?

Anonymous said...

I live in St Clair county and have talked to Doc. McClendon numerous times. He states he doesn't want to spend his political capital on such an issue that he fears would alienate his constituents. Any and all living in this lovely county should spend a dime and call the good doctor. Ironically Doc. McClendon is an Optometrist and should be aware of the benefits of those suffering with glaucoma. Thanks for all you are doing. AB