Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate Is Not A Fan of Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana isn’t currently available in Alabama, yet that’s not stopping some politicians from trying to derail the state’s medical marijuana program before it even gets off the ground..
We told you about Senator Larry Stutts and his bill, which has already passed out of a Senate committee, that would threaten participation in the state’s medical marijuana program under the guise of protecting unborn babies.
Well now, the leading Republican challenging Governor Kay Ivey in the gubernatorial primary has declared his opposition to medical marijuana loudly and fanatically.
Leading Candidate for Governor Vehemently Opposes Medical Marijuana
Tim James, a businessman and the son of former governor Fob James, currently trails Ivey in primary race polling, and appears to be trying to fire up support among conservative voters, the block most likely to oppose medical marijuana.
James said at a town hall forum hosted by the Common Sense Campaign Tea Party of Baldwin County last month that “(Alabama’s medical marijuana law) is nothing but a bait and switch to desensitize and get recreational use started. Their dream is recreational pot and that is where they are going.”
Not only does James see trying to help suffering Alabamans find relief as a backdoor to allowing adult Alabamans to decide for themselves if they’d like to use marijuana recreationally, but he sees the state’s medical marijuana law as an attempt to establish “a ‘drug cartel’ to sell medical marijuana gummies in every Alabama community,” in the words of Alabama.com.
Fellow Republicans Call James’ Criticisms of Medical Marijuana Inaccurate
As is unsurprising, James’ bias against medical marijuana is rooted in inaccuracies, or, as they are known outside of politics, lies. Or, as Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission director John McMillan diplomatically put it, “mischaracterization.”
Fellow GOP Politicians Take Stand Against Recreational Marijuana
McMillan isn’t the only Republican in Montgomery challenging the accuracy of
James’ allegations. According to Alabama.com, Tim Melson, a state senator and anesthesiologist who supported passing SB 46, Alabama’s medical marijuana law, “accused James of trying to embellish the law to create a political wedge issue in the governor’s race.”
“When you’re running for office, you need an issue and you need to pick out an Achilles heel,” Melson said. “I have nothing against Tim James. But being a doctor, we need alternatives. It’s easy to talk against it for the rhetoric of a campaign, but if you want to help people you take a more open minded (sic) view.”
McMillan told Alabama.com that this perception of the state’s medical marijuana program is false. “I think my personal observation is people who are opposing it are saying that it opens the door for legalizing marijuana,” McMillan said. “We are all against that. The commission, the staff and everyone else. But we don’t know what the future holds for that. It’s a federal issue.”
Unless the voters of Alabama decide that’s something they want, and they then pressure their representatives to legislate accordingly, or unless the federal government takes action, there simply will not be legal recreational marijuana in our state.
James’ Misrepresents Alabama Medical Marijuana Dosage Rules
James also criticized the state’s medical marijuana program for allowing patients to have too much medication at one time.
“The law says you can have over 70 doses of marijuana in your possession,” James said. “No one needs 70 doses.”
“It’s another misrepresentation,” McMillan said of this talking point. McMillan said the 70 dose limit is a maximum, and not a level that doctors were likely to prescribe in most cases.
Gubernatorial Candidate Makes Inaccurate Critique of Medical Marijuana Program’s Dispensary Regulations
McMillan also shot down another of James’ talking points, that the law’s requirement that medical marijuana dispensaries be cash-only businesses is in some way shady or nefarious.
“The person selling (medical marijuana) is someone who used to be working at a Walmart, and he has zero medical training,” James said. “He can’t take a credit card. Only cash. By state law, it’s a cash business. We are talking big money, crazy money.”
According to Alabama.com, McMillan denied this accusation, saying the cash-only requirement is because insurance companies don’t cover medical marijuana. Based on the content of the article, it isn’t clear if McMillan pointed out that nearly all state medical marijuana markets require cannabis businesses to be cash only, to avoid any banking complications caused by the fact that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
James also said the state’s medical marijuana law would lead to an abundance of dispensaries, or “pot shops,” as he called them, springing up all over the state. Further, he said that the list of qualifying conditions was too broad, and that almost anyone would be able to get medical marijuana. He said the only condition left off the list was a “stubbed toe.”
Once again, James’ fellow Republicans took him to task for inaccurately describing the law. McMillan pointed out that the law would allow for a maximum of 37 dispensaries statewide, and that a city council or a county commission would have to approve a resolution before a dispensary could open within their jurisdiction. Melson argued that the law’s handling of qualifying conditions was strict and limiting, and that only those who truly need medical marijuana would be able to get it. “There has to be a qualified condition,” he said. “It’s a chronic pain, not acute.”
Finally, James was taken to task for misrepresenting the law’s requirements for doctors to become licensed to prescribe medical marijuana. “There is a long, hard journey to get that designation,” James sarcastically said. “You have to sit at your computer at 8 in the morning, finish at noon and by lunch, you are now a marijuana doctor. It takes four hours.”
James’ comment was in reference to a four-hour, online training course doctors must take in order to be certified to prescribe medical marijuana. The problkem with his characterization is that doctors are unlikely to need more initial training than that, and the fact that further training is required under the law.
“They are medical doctors,” McMillan said. “They have years of training. Most of them already know about this (information).” Furthermore, the law requires doctors to take a two-hour refresher course every two years.
Don’t Let Opportunistic Politicians Keep You From Finding Relief
During the years of struggle to bring medical marijuana to Alabama, patient advocates had to constantly refute inaccurate depictions of medical marijuana and the bills meant to bring it to our state.
And now that all those years of hard work have paid off, it seems those who would stand between suffering Alabamans and relief refuse to let go of their myths, misrepresentations, and lies.
Don’t let them intimidate you; find out the truth about medical marijuana for yourself. Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll make an appointment for you with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors just as soon as we’re cleared to. You’ll discuss your conditions, learn if you qualify for an Alabama Marijuana Card, and learn how medical marijuana could help you. And if you make your reservation online today, you’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Alabama Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-5633, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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