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Alabamians warned against pre-registration for medical marijuana

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:13 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Despite some businesses claiming so, you can’t pre-register for a medical marijuana card in Alabama.

The Alabama Board of Medical Examiners is warning residents about businesses that are claiming they can help individuals receive or get pre-registered for a state-issued medical cannabis card by having a physician evaluate them.

“It’s way too early for any business to be offering anything related to medical marijuana, much less something that simply doesn’t exist and won’t exist when the law is fully implemented,” said Wilson Hunter, General Counsel of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.

Hunter said he believes that the motive these businesses have for advertising the ability to pre-register for a medical marijuana card is money.

“The money is being paid by the consumer to the business, and they are paying the business for a service the business simply can’t offer,” Hunter said.

“There’s a risk that not only will they (the consumer) lose their money, but the company which doesn’t know the regulations in Alabama, because they haven’t been written yet, may inadvertently disqualify the patient by having them answer questions a certain way, certify certain information, or take some other action that may ultimately lead the treating physician down the road to decide that a patient is not a candidate for medical marijuana,” Hunter went on to say.

The state medical cannabis law passed in May still requires several steps before medicinal use is legal in Alabama. The law tasks the Board with developing the criteria for the issuance of physician certifications for patients to use medical cannabis by December 1.

Executive Director William Perkins said physicians have not even been authorized to evaluate patients yet.

“There is really no service these companies can offer Alabamians at this time. No physician has yet been authorized to evaluate patients for medical cannabis in Alabama, and no one in Alabama can be pre-registered for a medical cannabis card,” said William Perkins, the Executive Director of the Board of Medical Examiners. “Alabamians should be warned against engaging with any business that claims otherwise.”

When asked if pre-registration for medical marijuana was close to even becoming a reality in Alabama, Hunter said “We are not close. The Board is working on its task, which is to have regulations in place by December 1. We are diligently working on that and expect to meet that time frame, however, that’s just the first step.”

The Board of Medical Examiners has been in contact with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office about these businesses. Alabamians concerned they may have been scammed can contact the Consumer Complaint Hotline at the Alabama Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-392-5658 or go online to: www.alabamaag.gov/consumercomplaint.

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