The board that will oversee Alabama’s new medical marijuana industry is taking shape.
Authorities have named at least 11 of the 14 members of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.
The Legislature passed a bill in May to legalize and regulate the production and use of medical marijuana products in Alabama, a seed-to-sale intrastate program.
The bill calls for the Medical Cannabis Commission to be in place by July 1.
The commission has a deadline of Sept. 1, 2022 to set up the rules to implement the program and issue licenses to cultivators, processors, transporters, testing laboratories, and dispensaries. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries will regulate the cultivators.
The bill designated seven public officials to pick the commission members, who will be subject to confirmation by the state Senate. But they can begin serving before their confirmation if the Legislature is not in session.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced her three appointees earlier this week: Dr. William Saliski Jr., a pulmonologist from Montgomery; Sam Blakemore, a pharmacist at Children’s of Alabama hospital in Birmingham; and Dwight Gamble, a bank executive from Headland.
Today, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth named his three appointees: Dr. Angela Martin, a pediatrician from Anniston; Dr. Eric Jensen, a biochemist from Brownsboro; and Loree Skelton, a healthcare lawyer from Birmingham.
House Speaker Mac McCutcheon’s two appointees: Rex Vaughn, a Madison County farmer and north region vice president for the Alabama Farmers Federation; and Charles Price, a retired circuit judge from Montgomery.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed’s two appointees: Dr. Steven Stokes, a radiation oncologist from Dothan; and Taylor Hatchett of Boozer Farms in Chilton County.
Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate has one appointment: James Harwell, former executive director of the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association and president of Green Thumb Nursery in Montgomery.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris also has an appointment. Attorney General Steve Marshall and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Hal Taylor each have one appointment for an advisory, non-voting member.
Alabama is the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Doctors will be able to recommend medical cannabis products to patients for about 15 categories of conditions and symptoms: Autism; cancer-related weight loss, or chronic pain; Crohn’s; depression; epilepsy or condition causing seizures; HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss; panic disorder; Parkinson’s; persistent nausea not related to pregnancy; PTSD; sickle cell; spasticity associated with diseases including ALS and multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries; terminal illnesses; Tourette’s; chronic pain for which conventional therapies and opiates should not be used or are ineffective.