- D. H. Reilly
Year-End Alabama Medical Marijuana Update: 2021 Progress and 2022 Predictions
If you haven’t looked into getting ready for an Alabama Marijuana Card yet, why not make it your New Year’s Resolution?
Now we know it may feel like it’s taking forever to get medical marijuana in Alabama, but as you look back on 2021 and forward to 2022, you can see just how far and how just how quickly the state has moved on establishing a medical marijuana market here.
Why waste that progress? As you’ll read, the events of 2021 dovetailed perfectly to bring medical marijuana to Alabama in 2023. Why not take advantage of those circumstances and make 2022 the year you get ready for relief?
Alabama Lawmakers Get with the Times, Pass a Medical Marijuana Bill
Obviously the biggest cannabis story of the year was the passage of SB 46, Alabama’s medical marijuana law. SB 46 was passed by the legislature on May 6, and signed into law by Governor Ivey on May 17.
Alabama’s Medical Marijuana Journey Began with a Mother’s Tragedy, Ends with Her Triumph
SB 46 has been dubbed the “Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act” in honor of the late son of State Representative Laura Hall. Darren Hall died five years before, of AIDS-related complications.
Her son’s struggles moved Laura Hall to become an advocate for cannabis legalization, and she introduced her first medical marijuana bill to the House floor twenty years ago. Representative Hall told the Opelika Observer that she had “no doubt” her son “would not have suffered and died” if he had had access to marijuana to treat his condition.
The passage of SB 46 was quite a moment for Representative Hall. Two decades prior, her colleagues had scoffed at her Quixotic efforts. But in 2021, her colleagues applauded her as they signed the law which would make her vision a reality and honor her son in the process.
Cannabis Commission Moves Quickly to Establish Medical Marijuana Market
For those who have been desperately waiting for relief, it may seem like the state has dragged its feet on medical marijuana. And while one can certainly make that case, when one compares recent history to the more distant past of marijuana laws, one can see just how quickly things have been moving since SB 46 was signed into law.
Think of it this way: Marijuana was banned in Alabama in 1931. That means we waited 70 years for the law to recognize the medical value of cannabis. Compared to that kind of wait, Alabama has been moving with blinding speed since the passage of SB 46.
The first order of business after the bill became a law in May was to establish the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) to oversee the new medical marijuana market.
Within two months, officials from the executive and legislative branches as well as various state agencies had all made their selections, and the AMCC was fully staffed. Less than a month after that, the AMCC met for the first time.
And in less than a month of operations, the AMCC had made so much progress that they announced they were considering asking the legislature to move up the date by which the medical marijuana market here was supposed to open.
The Date to Watch for was (and is) September 1, 2022
According to SB 46, the state’s medical marijuana market must be ready to begin operations on September 1 of 2022.
By that date, the AMCC has to have infrastructure in place to issue licenses to growers and dispensaries, and to enable doctors to issue Alabama Marijuana Cards to qualified patients.
But before long the AMCC was completing their work at such a swift clip that the group publicly speculated about asking the legislature to allow them to open parts of the market before that 9/1/22 deadline.
“They just didn’t think that the commission, our commission would move as fast as we’ve moved,” Dr. Steven Stokes, Chairman of the AMCC, said at the time. “We’ve gotten organized,” he added.
The AMCC had good reason to hope to move up SB 46’s deadline; if seeds weren’t in the ground by early 2022, there would be no medical marijuana for patients to buy until 2023.
AMCC Decides There Isn’t Time to Buy More Time
Ultimately, the Commission changed its tune, opting not to make a formal request of the legislature for a moved up start date.
Commission member Rex Vaughn, a Madison farmer, had been one of the most ardent supporters of a new timeline, but like the rest of the AMCC he concluded that a new start date wasn’t viable.
“If you start looking at the timelines for what it’s going to take to get rules and regulations approved, and the growth cycle and the 60 days that people have to get in business after they get the license, it starts adding up,” John McMillian, the executive director of the AMCC, told the Associated Press at the time.
So Then What Do We Have to Look Forward to for Medical Marijuana in 2022?
Expect the AMCC to continue to meet and make progress on creating our medical marijuana market.
And expect researchers to continue to find evidence of cannabis’ medicinal value.
But as far as actually purchasing medical marijuana, Alabamans will have to wait until 2023. On the bright side, at least we know we have a commission that has been working quickly to bring us relief as quickly as possible.
Don’t Wait for 2023 to Get Ready for Medical Marijuana
Yes, you’ll have to wait until 2023 before you can purchase medical marijuana here.
But the AMCC isn’t waiting; Although they declined to pursue a moved-up start day, the commission is still meeting regularly, establishing the rules for Alabama’s medical marijuana market.
And investors aren’t waiting. They've had their eye on Alabama ever since SB 46 became law in May.
And you shouldn’t wait either. You can’t get medical marijuana here until 2023, but you can begin getting ready for its arrival in Alabama right now!
Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our qualified, compassionate doctors just as soon as Alabama’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your tablet, smartphone, or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together you’ll discuss your condition and your eligibility for an Alabama Marijuana Card, all without even leaving your home. 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 the 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!
Check outAlabama Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.