Nationwide, state legislatures have been reducing restrictions for the possession and sale of marijuana. While these laws vary in scope and form, they demonstrate a trend towards legalization. Now the Alabama legislature has followed suit, as the legislature has approved a bill allowing the use of marijuana to control seizures. According to reports, the Senate and the House passed the bill without a dissenting vote. The bill will go to Governor Robert Bentley who plans to sign the bill after a legal review.
The bill was initiated by a police officer who was looking to help his three year-old daughter and other children who suffer from epilepsy and frequent seizures. Once signed into law, the bill will authorize the University of Birmingham’s Department of Neurology to perform studies using a cannabis derived oil to treat seizures. Our Birmingham drug crimes defense lawyers are experienced in representing individuals who have been charged with drug crimes. In addition to providing experienced advocacy and defense, we are also abreast of the legal issues and drug-related news that may impact residents of Alabama.
According to researchers, the marijuana derivative cannabidiol (CBC) oil has shown potential in treating and preventing seizures. In addition to legalization of the use of marijuana, lawmakers are also allocating $1 million to the university to fund the five-year study. Any person involved in the study, including researchers and participants will be immune from any criminal charges associated with marijuana possession or use. The study is also dependent upon approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Advocates in favor of the research see it as having potential to prevent or minimize the effects of seizures. The University will also be collaborating with state neurologists to identify patients who may benefit from the treatment. Those involved in the study, say that the use of the marijuana oil does not have the same effect as smoking. It is not intended to get a user high, but anecdotal evidence purports that users who have suffered from seizures have noticed a beneficial effect.
As marijuana legalization laws continue to shift nationwide, it is critical to understand your rights and potential liabilities. For others who possess, sell, or traffic marijuana illegally, the charges can still be severe. Alabama has some of the highest incarceration rates for non-violent offenders, locking up individuals for a host of drug-related offenses. If you are arrested, it is important to consult with an experienced advocate who can review the evidence, protect your 4th Amendment rights, and ensure that law enforcement agencies are in compliance with state laws and the Constitution. Even if you are charged with a drug-related crime, an attorney can help to protect you against unwarranted penalties.
This bill was passed after families collaborated to lobby in favor of the research. It came to be known as “Carly’s Law” and attracted legislators throughout the state who wanted to ensure that the bill was handled fairly and in the right hands. The unprecedented support of a legalization bill in Alabama may be an indication for future laws towards legalization.