web analytics

What a wonderful day to be an Alabamian. The sun shining, birds chirping, a cool breeze blowing and the Alabama House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security talking about marijuana.

It makes you feel all warm and squishy inside, doesn’t it?

No? Yeah, us either but this date did make a statement. If nothing else, Wednesday was a win for us in the sense that, all of you have started and continued the conversation about marijuana in the State of Alabama.

House Bill 550 was tabled in committee on Wednesday due to not having any representative call for a vote on the bill. Of course we didn’t expect anything different.

Rep. Micky Harmon, just a few days ago, said the medical marijuana bill would get a hearing in his committee "over my dead body" [Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition]

Rep. Micky Harmon, just a few days ago, said the medical marijuana bill would get a hearing in his committee “over my dead body”
[AMMJC]

This is, after all, the first time a comprehensive marijuana reform bill has been introduced to the Alabama Legislature. Just days ago, Chairman Micky Hammon was quoted as saying “Over my dead body,” when asked about a hearing on HB 550.

Without getting into the comedy of reasons “The Alabama Cannabis and Hemp Reform Act of 2013” may have been put into the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition (AMMJC) would like to commend Representative Mickey Hammon for holding a hearing on HB 550 in his committee.

AMMJC supporters should take comfort in the fact that it was the constant emails and phone calls that made this hearing happen. Members of that committee have received upwards of 1,500 emails (that we know of) regarding HB 550 since it was submitted to the House.

Many of our elected officials in Montgomery will tell you that if they receive five contacts or more regarding an issue or piece of legislation, then they know that it is something important to the people of their district. Does anyone find it strange that receiving hundreds upon hundreds of contacts regarding marijuana policy is being ignored?

Chris and D.J. Butts of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition [AMMJC]

Chris and D.j. Butts of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition
[Chris Butts/Facebook]

That said, now is not the time to stop. Make no mistake, this hearing was granted to “shut us up.” — nothing more, nothing less.

Now is the time to show our elected officials our resolve. It is time to show them we are not going away.

AMMJC’s agenda is and always has been, securing safe access to marijuana for those patients who can benefit from its use. That will never change and we intend to explore every avenue that could have that outcome. If full legalization or decriminalization is that avenue, so be it.

There are still a few bills in play but with only a few weeks left the 2013 session is winding down. We at AMMJC ask that everyone keep the pressure on their Representatives right on through the 2014 elections. We certainly do not need to let them think that marijuana isn’t going to be a topic in the next election.

We also ask that some of you take a few minutes to write a letter the the editor of your local newspaper in support of marijuana policy reform/medical marijuana. Keeping the media involved is another great way to let our elected officials know we aren’t going anywhere.

The bottom line is, we need everyone who believes in this cause to help out. If you are waiting for a single person to miraculously get marijuana policy changed in Alabama, you have a very long wait ahead of you. On the other hand, if everyone keeps this conversation alive and does their part, it is closer than you think.

~ Chris Butts, President
Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition (AMMJC)