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Alabama: Senate President Wants Medical Marijuana Debate

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Del Marsh, president pro tem of the Alabama Senate, on Friday said he would like to see the chamber at least debate the merits of a medical marijuana bill, one day after Senate Rules Committee Chairman Jabo Waggoner -- a gatekeeper through which bills make it to the floor -- said the bill was "bad legislation" for which Alabama was "not ready."

"I would like to get it to the floor for debate," said Marsh (R-Anniston), reports Bryan Lyman at the Montgomery Advertiser. "There's some good debate to be had on it. There are issues out there I think need to be discussed."

Marsh admitted that chances of passing the medical marijuana bill are low in the heavily Republican Alabama Senate, but he said he believed there are valid arguments to be made for medical marijuana.

"You have a lot of people many times who are prescribed prescription drugs that lead to addiction," Marsh said. "The argument is medical marijuana prevents that issue. My point is I think it should be open for debate."

Marsh suggested that the bill could make it the floor if there was "a gentleman's agreement not to take action except for discussion."

Alabama: Key Senator Blocks Medical Marijuana Bill; Says State 'Not Ready'

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana may have been passed by an Alabama Senate committee this week, but a powerful politician quickly blocked the way for further progress, declaring the state is "not ready" for such legislation. The full membership of the Senate won't even get the chance to debate the bill unless he changes his mind.

Sen. Jabo Waggoner, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, displayed the arrogance of power in disregarding both the Senate Judiciary Committee, which on Wednesday approved the bill on a 4-3 vote, and popular opinion in the state.

"It is bad legislation," Waggoner said, ignoring both the scientific evidence of marijuana's medical effectiveness and the wishes of his own constituents. "We don't need that in Alabama."

A whopping 97 percent of more than 1,300 respondents to an online poll said the state should allow medicinal cannabis. More than a decade ago, back in 2004, 75 percent of respondents said medical marijuana should be legal in the Heart of Dixie, according to a Mobile Register/University of South Alabama survey.

Waggoner, a relic of the 20th Century and career politician who has served in the Alabama Legislature for 49 years, said he didn't think anything would change his mind about the medical marijuana bill this year.

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