When my sister in Alabama suffers severe nausea due to a major stroke she had last year, she’s not allowed to use the most effective medication. In fact, if she did that, she could be put in jail.
You see, Lynda can’t use medical marijuana — even though it works better than any of the harsh pharmaceuticals her doctor prescribes — because it’s very much against the law in Alabama.
That could all be changing soon, thanks to the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition (AMMJC), which, just two months after its founding, on Thursday announced that the Alabama Medical Marijuana Patient’s Rights Act will be introduced in the next session of the Alabama Legislature.
The AAMJC came into existence on June 3 this year. Rep. Brown agreed to sponsor the Alabama Medical Marijuana Patient’s Rights Act on August 4 — just 62 days after the organization was founded.
|Photo: Chris Butts|
|Chris Butts, AMMJC: “If I were any happier, I’d have to sit on my hands to keep from clapping.”|
”Ron [Crumpton] and I had two names on the House of Representatives roster picked out, and Rep. Brown was at the top of that list,” AMMJC Co-President Chris Butts told Toke of the Town Thursday evening. “He’s seen how cannabinoid medicine helps, with his own eyes, and he believes in this legislation.
“If I were any happier, I’d have to sit on my hands to keep from clapping,” Butts told me. “Getting a sponsor is one thing; getting a sponsor that is a Christian conservative, a Republican and the one you wanted all along is something else entirely.”
“Representative Brown is ready to go,” AMMJC Co-President Crumpton told Toke of the Town Friday morning. “We made no changes to the legislation that we presented him with, which is Americans for Safe Access’s state model legislation.
“We had made some changes to their original before we presented it to Rep. Brown, but that was mainly just adding some conditions for which marijuana could be recommended,” Crumpton told me. “Among those were lupus, Tourette’s syndrome, PTSD and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and colitis).
|Photo: Ron Crumpton|
|Ron Crumpton, AMMJC: “Representative Brown is ready to go”|
”We looked at a lot of legislation; the ASA state model is by far the most neutral bill,” Crumpton said. “It is not so liberal that it would make enforcement virtually impossible and it is not so strict that it will harm patients.
“He has some good ideas for the bill,” Crumpton said of Rep. Brown. “He wants to take it to the health department, who will be responsible for overseeing the program and its enforcement, to try to address their concerns.
“That way when the bill goes before the Legislature, it will not be a question because we know where they stand and have already addressed the issue,” Crumpton told Toke of the Town. “I think that will give them a cleaner bill, but it will also give AMMJC a voice in those changes — a voice we probably will not have if those changes are made in the Legislature.”
The AMMJC is hosting a series of informational picnic meetings across Alabama. The next one is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, August 13, at Blue Springs State Park, 2595 Highway 10, Clio, AL 36017. You can visit the Facebook event page here.
“Join us in Clio, Alabama for food, fun and discussion on Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition’s future plans and how you can help make legal medical marijuana a reality in Alabama,” Crumpton said.
There is no charge to attend the AMMJC meeting, but Blue Springs State Park has a $3 admission fee.
|Here’s how change happens in Alabama: AMMJC Co-President Ron Crumpton, left, discusses medical marijuana policy with Rep. K.L. Brown and his wife Mandee Brown at an AMMJC picnic in June. This eventually resulted in Rep. Brown agreeing to sponsor a medical marijuana patients’ rights bill in the Alabama Legislature.|