Medical cannabis industry taking shape in Alabama

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 9:20 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The medical cannabis industry in Alabama is slowly getting off the ground with the first round of licensed growers expected to be approved by mid-summer, according to the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.

Once it’s up and running, we wanted to find out how the process then works between the physician and the patient.

Mark Jackson is the head of the Medical Association of Alabama and says the medical cannabis industry is probably a year away from getting off the ground and working in synergy with growers, the state board and physicians.

“Yes, that will probably be a reasonable timeline,” said Jackson.

In the meantime, the logistics are coming together. The cannabis products will likely be available before then, according to Mark Jackson. Also being worked out is how patients will get the medically-approved cannabis.

The key word here is ‘certification.’ A physician must take a four-hour course in order to recommend cannabis who in turn ‘certifies’ the patient. In other words, under Alabama law, the patient must be ‘certified’ by a doctor before getting cannabis at a dispensary.

“Number one, a patient would have to go to a physician that has received certification from the state to recommend medical cannabis, and in order for them to get certified, they have to take a four-hour course to learn the rules and regulations and understand the medical perspective,” said Jackson.

For the patient?

“The role of the physician is to determine that patient does have a medical condition that requires medical cannabis,” said Jackson.

Once that happens, the doctor will enter the patient’s name in a registry developed by the state and the patient will also have to register with the state in order to get a card and receive the product from a dispensary.

The four-hour course will likely be offered to interested physicians in the next two weeks.

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