So many of you reading this have been instrumental in driving the shift we are seeing. Your emails, letters, phone calls and personal visits to your legislators have brought about interest in the legislature in factions where there previously was none.
Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition (AMMJC) would like to thank everyone for keeping the pressure on the Statehouse to make changes to protect the patients of Alabama who can benefit from the therapeutic use of marijuana. We would also remind everyone that hearing a little encouraging news doesn’t mean it is time to stop badgering our elected officials regarding medical marijuana.
The old saying goes: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” We need to continue being that squeaky wheel.
The encouraging news from the State House is that Representative Patricia Todd, (D-House District 54), has begun measures to form a commission consisting of members of the Alabama Legislature, law enforcement officials, the medical community and representatives of other state agencies to study “current medical research and current medical marijuana policies throughout the nation.”
Reportedly the purpose of the commission will be to craft a piece of legislation that will protect patients, and that everyone feels comfortable with making law in Alabama.At the moment only two members of the Alabama Legislature have been named as a member of the commission.
On April 30, it was reported that Representative K.L. Brown, a Republican from Jacksonville and the original sponsor of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients’ Rights Act, said he would be honored to serve on the commission. In the 2012 Legislative Session Representative Brown asked Members of the House to help make the bill better rather than try to kill it. It appears as though some members were listening.
On May 1 we recieved another announcement, that Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Republican Alan Farley of McCalla, will also serve on the commission.Representative Farley, at the hearing on HB 550 in the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, on April 23 spoke about retired law enforcement friends and how many of their views had changed regarding marijuana, specifically the medical use. As a 36-year law enforcement veteran, Rep. Farley has certainly had the opportunity the see the failures in marijuana policy in the state. He should be prove to be a valuable member of the commission.
Another name mentioned was Representative Mickey Hammon (R) of the 4th District (Limestone and Morgan) who serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. While Representative Hammon did say he would like to be informed of commission meetings so he could attend and participate when his schedule allowed, he did not want to be a member.
Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition has asked to have representation in the commission meetings as well as being involved in the commission member selection process. We will keep you up to date as things progress.
In the meantime, now is the perfect opportunity to contact your legislator and ask them to keep up with this commission and keep you informed of their findings.
If every legislator in Montgomery receives a few emails from people in their district asking them to offer their name to serve on the commission or keep track of the commission’s findings, this mission to protect the patients’ of Alabama will be a whole new ballgame.
Editor’s note: Chris Butts is president and executive director of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition (AMMJC).