“First of all, it was passed by the Alabama legislature a little over a year ago, and now it is up to each individual municipality to license them,” Tuscaloosa City Council President Kip Tyner said.
Tyner said he’s all for the change.
“I think it’s a good thing and I am looking forward to learning more about exactly how they will work, but I don’t see any issues with it passing the city council,” he said.
University Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Weida explained what this legislation permits.
“Cannabis is controlled substance, it’s a Schedule 1, which would put it on the same level as heroin,” Weida said. “I cannot prescribe heroin and I cannot prescribe marijuana. However, with this legislation, I can certify that certain patients have a certain medical condition that this medical cannabis could be helpful for.”
Some of the conditions cannabis has been proven to help include cancer, seizures, chronic pain and anxiety.
“They can then take that (letter) to a dispensary and get cannabis,” Weida said. “There are several rules and regulations that need to be followed. They are strict. They need to sign consent forms. I need to send in certain reports. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes for this, but it is not really a prescription. I just certify that they have a condition that this product could help.”
Weida said even if the operation of the dispensaries is approved in Tuscaloosa, physicians won’t be in a place to certify patients immediately.
“The physicians won’t be certifying this right away,” he said. “We must take four hours of continuing education credits before we are allowed to certify and so these kinds of rules and regulations are still be made. It will be a while before you may see it in the dispensaries that might pop up in Tuscaloosa. “
And don’t expect to find the kind of items you’ll see in marijuana-allowing states like Colorado. First of all, you can’t buy the herb itself. So no smoking or edibles. What will be available includes:
We will keep you updated on the discussions from Tuesday’s council meeting on this issue.