The Alabama state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would legalize the use of medical marijuana.
The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson (R), an anesthesiologist and medical researcher, passed by a vote of 17-6.
The Senate had debated the bill Wednesday but delayed a vote. The legislation now moves to the state House.
Alabama would become the 34th state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes should the bill become law.
The bill would create a nine-person Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to establish a registry system and properly implement the legislation. It also extends additional legislation authorizing the University of Alabama at Birmingham to conduct research on the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in specified circumstances until 2021.
The legislation includes several measures to prevent abuse of medical marijuana, including a clause mandating that a patient would have to get a recommendation for the drug from a doctor that would need to approved by a second doctor. Those seeking to obtain medical marijuana would also have to go through a criminal background check.
Melson has said he believes medical marijuana could help people for whom available treatment options have not worked, according to AL.com. He’s also said it could help reduce reliance on opioids.
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Alabama statehouse moves forward on medical marijuana
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