This has been a divisive issue for many years. Some states are starting to legalize it. Besides getting intoxicated, the marijuana plant has many other uses. There is a bill up for vote in Alabama that would allow research into industrial hemp production.
Hemp is a form of cannabis with only trace amounts of THC (the psychoactive part). Hemp can be used to make many things: paper, fabric, carpeting, insulation, etc.
The Federal Farm bill legalized hemp production research in 2014. Twenty-eight states have passed bills allowing this research, including Alabama.
Auburn released a white paper citing hemp research by the University in the 1950s. That research found that hemp would grow well in Alabama’s soil and climate.
If the bill passes, Alabama would have to get approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Federal legislation allowing these research programs could be passed sometime in the next couple of years.
One of the senators sponsoring the bill, Paul Bussman, said the legalization could boom for Alabama farmers.
Marijuana also has medicinal purposes. There was the case of Carly, a girl who has a form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. Taking CBD, cannabidiol oil, an extract from the marijuana plant helped lessen her seizures in a way that no prescription drugs could do.
Carly’s parents, who live in Pelham, AL, met with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to discuss legislation to legalize the hemp that helped their daughter. Her father thought that the extract would help others, and he started a Change.org petition to support legislation to allow CBD use for medical reasons.
Her father said that it would really improve the quality of life for patients suffering with epilepsy. Carly’s law wasn’t perfect, but it did protect people from prosecution for having the CBD oil. The bill transformed into a research bill, so it is going to take longer to get federal approval for the drug. They are still waiting for DEA approval to circulate the medicine in Alabama.