Medical cannabis to be considered by City of Huntsville

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Alabama became the 37th state to approve medical cannabis use. (Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission)

With Alabama having adopted a statewide medical cannabis system, the City of Huntsville announced Tuesday it will look into possibly joining the system.

City officials said making medical cannabis products available to qualified patients under the care of a physician would be beneficial for those suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses. Here’s more info:

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Proceeding with caution

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The Huntsville City Council will propose a well-thought-out zoning plan for its participation in Alabama’s medical cannabis system. (Nathan Watson / Hville Blast)

Let’s be honest: the subject of legalizing cannabis at any level is controversial and a hot-button topic throughout the country. Which is why city officials said the city is “taking cautious steps toward participating in Alabama’s new medical cannabis system.”

Alabama is the 37th state to allow use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The law creating Alabama’s medical cannabis system received bipartisan support in the state legislature.

The city will first propose a well-thought-out zoning plan, which will be in addition to the heavy levels of state regulation implemented by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. Huntsville’s Planning Commission will begin evaluating zoning recommendations today.

As required by recently enacted state law, municipal governments must pass an ordinance and inform the state if they wish to allow dispensing sites to operate in their communities.

At the Huntsville City Council’s upcoming Oct. 13 meeting, the city will introduce an ordinance authorizing dispensing sites in Huntsville. Following Council consideration, a vote could come two weeks later. If Council approves the ordinance Oct. 27, the city will finalize a zoning plan and implement any needed changes to city license and tax requirements. 

What this means regarding ‘legalized marijuana’

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Legalizing cannabis for medical use does not mean legalized recreation marijuana use. (Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission)

Mayor Tommy Battle said he wants to make it clear that the city’s stance on medical cannabis is not about legalizing recreational marijuana use. Rather, Battle sees the medical use of cannabis as one way of helping people with chronic illnesses.

“We’re taking a thoughtful and measured approach to make certain we get this right.”

Mayor Tommy Battle

The conditions for use of medicinal cannabis include:

  • Cancer-related pain, weight loss, and vomiting
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy or conditions causing seizures
  • HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss
  • Panic disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Persistent nausea that is not responsive to traditional treatment
  • PTSD
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis or spinal cord injury
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Terminal illness
  • Conditions causing chronic or intractable pain. 

To be eligible to participate in the program, patients must be diagnosed with at least one of these qualifying medical conditions by a physician certified by the state to recommend medical cannabis to patients. 

The earliest anticipated date dispensaries could be operable would be mid-2023 after the AMCC grants the licenses. More information is available at amcc.alabama.gov.

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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