I’m writing to express my concern about the Alabama Medical Cannabis Bill that was read in the Senate on Feb. 3, 2021. This was the first full day of the Judiciary Committee meetings and it seems that Sen. Tim Melson felt it was more important to push through a Medical Cannabis (Marijuana) Bill than to see to the people of this state's needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I feel it is important to explain to the Wiregrass what this medical marijuana bill is really about. The Legislature would like to make it legal to grow, process, transport, test, manufacture, and dispense or sell marijuana products.
Please know that none of the products that will be manufactured in the state will be sold in a pharmacy. How can you call an illegal drug “medical” when you can’t buy it from a pharmacy? It also is concerning that these products are not FDA regulated or approved but are being pushed as a prescription for differing ailments.
To date, the FDA has approved four medications made from a single component in marijuana. Epidiolex (an oil) is used to treat epilepsy in children and adults from ages 2 and up. Marinol (a pill) or Syndros (a liquid) are safe and effective in treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, as well as AIDS wasting (increases appetite). These medications are prescribed by a doctor and filled by a pharmacist.
By researching other states that have made medical marijuana legal, we know that when states allow this drug to be sold to their citizens that it will only be a few short years before that state legalizes recreational marijuana as well. Some states experience swift growth and abundant supply but not enough users. Several states are apprehending more and more people using marijuana without a prescription and that is overloading the local law enforcement. These are just two of the many reasons why these states have conceded to the outcry for recreational legalization after medical marijuana has been around for a while.
So, what is the No. 1 reason not to legalize "medical" marijuana? Our children! Cannabis has an adverse effect on the developing brain both in utero and in adolescents. The brain is still developing through a person’s 20s and since the brain is still forming those essential connections, it is easily manipulated when introduced to marijuana. This is particularly alarming because marijuana users are at a higher risk of developing anxiety, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, depression, paranoia, psychosis, schizophrenia, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Plus psychotic disorders typically develop in the late teenage years and can be exacerbated by marijuana use. We also know that students who use marijuana do worse in school and are more likely to drop out because their short-term memory and ability to concentrate are affected which overall causes their IQ levels to lower through the years by up to 8%, along with poor decision-making and low motivation.
No matter how you look at marijuana, it is not good for Alabama. Please help us spread the truth about the Alabama Medical Cannabis Bill SB46. Our state needs to be informed of what is really being voted on. Please call your member of the Legislature and ask them to vote no on SB 46.