Alabama's slow embrace of medical marijuana

Unlike most states, Alabama does not allow the medical use of marijuana. But the state has recently passed laws allowing the use of some marijuana-derived extracts that can't get you high.

And Mark Coleman's testimony on his daughter's use of cannabidiol oil makes a compelling case for the drug's benefits.

Coleman's 15-year-old daughter, Mary Ann, has a severe case of autism. She doesn't speak and frequently tries to hurt herself - pinching her arms, slamming her head, biting whatever she can get into her mouth.

Then the Alabama legislature passed Leni's Law, which went into effect June 1, 2016, and Mary Ann's life improved "tenfold" since she began taking the CBD oil, her father said.


Marijuana Company With Alabama Roots Becomes Major National Pot Brand

In 2008, real estate developers Tripp Keber and Chuck Smith owned and operated an upscale RV resort just outside Gulf Shores with aspirations of building a national chain.

But the recession would see those dreams dashed, and in 2009 the business partners took a risk and diversified their investment portfolio in a new way by putting money into an up-and-coming cannabis company in Colorado.

Business was good, and they soon realized that legal pot was quickly becoming a booming industry. So in June 2010, they took the next step, incorporating a humble Denver-based cannabis start-up called Dixie Elixirs.


Legal marijuana: Will Alabama be last?

As legalized marijuana spreads across the United States, most observers remain skeptical that recreational marijuana will be legal anytime soon in Alabama.

"We're the Bible Belt," said Gary Hetzel, a retired warden at Donaldson and Holman prisons and now executive director of the Alabama Therapeutic Education Facility. "We're too conservative."

Marijuana activists are hopeful, but realistic.


The 12 Best Cities for Growing Marijuana Outdoors

The marijuana business in the U.S. is growing like a weed.

Nationwide, legal sales of marijuana reached $5.7 billion in 2015, up from $4.6 billion the previous year, according to a report from ArcView Market Research. For 2016, the market is projected to grow to $7.1 billion. And by 2020, ArcView says, sales of legal marijuana in the U.S. could top $22 billion.

As it stands now, about two-thirds of America’s marijuana crop — the legal and illegal kinds — is grown outdoors, according to Mother Jones magazine.


Alabama medical marijuana bill signed into law

Gov. Robert Bentley says patients deserve 'every possible option' to treat their illness

 Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed legislation into law to allow medical marijuana oil in the state.

The law, which will decriminalize possession of cannabidiol produced in other states, will go into effect June 1.

The legislation, nicknamed Leni’s Law, follows a similar bill in 2014 that established a CBD oil medical study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Alabama: Gov. Robert Bentley Signs Medical Cannabis Oil Bill

Gov. Robert Bentley has signed into law a bill to allow people with debilitating medical conditions to use cannabidiol, which is made from the same plant as marijuana.

The bill, known as Leni's Law, expands on a bill passed two years ago, known as Carly's Law, that authorized a UAB study on using cannabidiol to treat people with severe seizure disorders.

"As a physician, I believe it is extremely important to give patients with a chronic or debilitating disease the option to consider every possible option for treatment," Bentley said in a statement.

"With Leni's Law, citizens in Alabama will have access to cannabidiol that may help with treatment. 


Alabama legislature passes medical marijuana oil bill

The Alabama legislature on Wednesday voted to decriminalize medicinal marijuana oil possession.

In a 95-4 vote in the House of Representatives and a 29-3 vote in the Senate, legislators supported a bill supporters say is a bid to help families struggling with debilitating medical conditions.

Though derived from cannabis, cannabidiol doesn't cause a high like marijuana due to reduced amounts of the psychoactive property tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Proponents say it can help alleviate severe seizures, among other conditions.

"This is an opportunity to give some sunlight to families," said Sen. Paul Sanford, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. "They don't want to feel like criminals, but they know they need to try something like this."


Outrageous Sentences for Marijuana

Lee Carroll Brooker, a 75-year-old disabled veteran suffering from chronic pain, was arrested in July 2011 for growing three dozen marijuana plants for his own medicinal use behind his son’s house in Dothan, Ala., where he lived. For this crime, Mr. Brooker was given a life sentence with no possibility of release.

Alabama law mandates that anyone with certain prior felony convictions be sentenced to life without parole for possessing more than 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of marijuana, regardless of intent to sell. Mr. Brooker had been convicted of armed robberies in Florida two decades earlier, for which he served 10 years. The marijuana plants collected at his son’s house — including unusable parts like vines and stalks — weighed 2.8 pounds.


Would legalizing cannabis solve Alabama's budget problems?

As the state of Alabama and our elected officials stumble forward into our next fiscal year, we are once again hit with cries of budget cuts, tax hikes, and another movement of funds from our woeful education system into the general fund.

According to, such budgetary solutions range from a lottery, which is a hidden tax on the poor and uneducated of our neighbors, to an additional tax on gas now that it's cheap. The governor, in his State of the State address, proposed new prison initiatives in order to stem the maintenance costs of the prison budget, which is the second largest agency siphoning from the general fund, at a whopping $400 million.


Alabama moms make passionate plea: Legalize medical marijuana oil

Three moms, three children suffering from various forms of epilepsy, three different stories trying to share one message:

Legalize medicinal oil derived from marijuana.

In Alabama, that potential law has been dubbed Leni's Law and state Rep. Mike Ball, R-Huntsville, is the bill's sponsor. Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, will carry the bill in the Senate.

On Monday, the three moms addressed the Madison County legislative delegation at its annual public forum. Their singular message came from three different vantage points:


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