Alabama lawmakers have recently approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana, allowing individuals with a range of conditions to purchase the drug with a doctor’s approval.
Former investigator with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and hostage negotiator turned legislator, Rep. Mike Ball, sponsored the bill.
Ball told CBS 42 that he was swayed by the data and compassion. “I’ve seen hearts and minds change more and more,” Ball said. The former officer, who retired in 2002 when he was elected to represent Madison County, heard stories from many individuals, including Carly Chandler, who influenced legislation to legalize CBD oil in 2014 as a treatment for seizures.
Carly’s father, Dustin Chandler, said “If we can help suffering people, that’s what it’s all about. To know the data is out there and shows that we can help, then that’s what we all need to be doing…”
Chandler is also a former officer who was with the Pelham Police Department. He has spent years fighting to legalize marijuana to treat medical conditions on behalf of those like his daughter.
“Knowing that my daughter was put here for a reason; her struggles have always pushed me to try to get her help,” he said. “If my daughter can get help, why are we not providing that help for other people and showing compassion.”
Ball was gratified that the bill was able to finally pass after 7 years of difficulty.
“It seems that throughout this whole process, every possible roadblock that could get thrown in our way would get out there, and we somehow managed to get by,” Ball said.
The medical marijuana cards will cost $65 dollars a year, and do not cover smoking or vaping cannabis products.
The bill, which passed in the House with a vote of 68-34 and the Senate with a 20-9 vote, will now move to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk.