Coalition pushes medical marijuana bill in state legislature - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Coalition pushes medical marijuana bill in state legislature

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A non-profit organization is rallying last-minute support for a medical marijuana bill before it is introduced in the next legislative session.

The Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition held a public meeting in Huntsville Saturday to garner more awareness on the proposal before it goes before lawmakers on Feb. 7.

"Our mission is to protect the patients of Alabama who can gain therapeutic benefit from the product," said AMMC Co-President Christopher Butts.

If passed, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients Rights Act, known as HB66, would let certain patients use medical marijuana to treat their symptoms under a doctor's prescription.

Rep. K.L. Brown (R-40th District) is sponsoring the bill. Right now, 16 states allow marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Butts said the bill has overwhelming support in Alabama.

"This is not about getting high. Our oldest member of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition is 84 years old. I assure you that woman is not trying to get high," Butts said.

But other state lawmakers said they don't think the bill will go very far in the next session.

"I think it would be a long shot," said Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-25th District).

McCutcheon said there is prescription medication that has the same therapeutic effects as medical cannabis. He also questioned how the marijuana will be obtained if such a law is approved.

"Where's it coming from? Is this going to be an illegal drug trade that's just going to open up another door for them to have a market?" McCutcheon said.

State lawmakers will also debate a jobs creation package and education reform in the next session.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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