Draft of dos and don’ts for physicians recommending medical marijuana released

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 9:11 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - For the last several month’s state agencies have been hard at work to put a new law into play: Medical Marijuana.

The state has now published a draft of rules, essentially dos and don’ts for physicians recommending medical marijuana to patients.

This draft is are based on what lawmakers passed back in May.

Now comes the hard work, figuring out the rules, for doctors, patients, even the growers, to all be in compliance with a new law to help treat patients for a medical purpose.

“There’s certainly a heightened standard when it comes to medical cannabis. I think that’s apparent in the law. There are many, many regulations,” Matt Hart, attorney for the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners said.

With any new law, comes the question of how to enforce it, starting with rules for physicians to recommend it.

On top of their medical license and a certificate for controlled substances, a physician must also complete a four-hour education course on medical cannabis, pass a test and pay a $300 application fee.

“Any physician licensed in Alabama who meets the requirements, set forth in the rule, would be able to obtain a permit from the board which would enable them to recommend cannabis. It’s not a prescription, the laws clear on that. It’s a recommendation,” Hart said.

Hart says Alabamians with certain medical conditions like depression, PTSD, Panic Disorder and a terminal illness will be eligible. The full list of qualifying conditions is below.

“The recommended dosage will go into a database, and they will receive a card from the commission, I believe and then they can take that card to any of the dispensaries in the state and then obtain, who will have access to the database with their information in it,” Hart said.

But keep in mind, the law clearly leaves out one option: smoking marijuana.

The law allows forms such as pills, creams and patches.

That’s where Dr. Jan Roberts, founder of the Cannabinoid Institute says Alabama’s law falls short and is too strict.

“If you have someone with severe pain, we know if they ingest it through a capsule, it’s going to take about an hour for it to kick in. if they’re in acute pain they’re going to need immediate relief and that’s where oral inhalation comes into play. Frankly, I’m hopeful that the patients will be vocal about having their needs met. Because it doesn’t sound like from what I’ve learned today that the state is really making sound scientific decisions,” said Dr. Roberts.

Physicians won’t be allowed to refer patients to certain dispensaries, and they have to try other medical treatments for the patient before recommending medical marijuana.

Hart says the board must begin allowing processors and growers to apply for licenses by September 2022.

You have until January 4 to email in your feedback on these draft rules. Click here for more information on submitting feedback.


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Cancer-related cachexia, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, or chronic pain

Crohn’s Disease


Epilepsy or a condition causing seizures

HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss

Panic disorder

Parkinson’s disease

Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to pregnancy, cannabis-induced cyclical vomiting syndrome, or cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Sickle Cell Anemia

Spasticity associated with a motor neuron disease, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or a spinal cord injury

A terminal illness

Tourette’s Syndrome

A condition causing chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or has proved ineffective


Medical cannabis. a. A medical-grade product in the form of any of the following, as determined by rule by the commission, that contains a derivative of cannabis for medical use by a registered qualified patient pursuant to this chapter:

1. Oral tablet, capsule, or tincture.

2. Non-sugarcoated gelatinous cube, gelatinous rectangular cuboid, or lozenge in a cube or rectangular cuboid shape.

3. Gel, oil, cream, or other topical preparation.

4. Suppository.

5. Transdermal patch.

6. Nebulizer.

7. Liquid or oil for administration using an inhaler.

b. The term does not include any of the following:

1. Raw plant material.

2. Any product administered by smoking, combustion, or vaping.

3. A food product that has medical cannabis baked, mixed, or otherwise infused into the product, such as cookies or candies.

Copyright 2021 WAFF. All rights reserved.