Medical Marijuana In Alabama?
Some people who face pain and other health problems say marijuana is the medical miracle they desperately need.
Now there's a bill in legislature to legalize medical marijuana, letting doctors prescribe it for a number of illnesses.
It's a divisive topic across the country, but the bill's sponsor says he doesn't see a reason for there to be any controversy here in Alabama.
Last year, a bill to legalize marijuana won the Shroud Award, naming it the "deadest bill" of the legislative session.
But Representative Mike Ball of Madison thinks things have changed since then.
"When I first started I thought it would be a heavy lift. As I go down this path and talk to my collegaues as they learn more, I haven't seen a solid no," said Rep. Ball.
He spoke at a rally as residents from across the state showed their support for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.
But just what makes medical marijuana different from what is sold on the streets?
It's still the same drug, it's THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, it's just that medical marijuana is a higher grade marijuana and it's controlled. In other words it's grown in a controlled environment with botanists who really know what they're doing.
Dr. Jeff Underwood says pot helps people regain their appetite and some people claim it helps with their pain, especially when receiving chemotherapy.
"What's happening now is that we're starting to talk and have the necessary narrative to get things rolling so people who are suffering don't have to suffer because of ignorance," said Dr. Underwood.
The bill is currently in committee and Representative Ball doesn't expect it to come up for a few weeks. But he hopes the bill passes so he can help Alabamians.
"And as a police officer I know that these people who love their family, who are seeking help, who are not doing this just to get high, they should not be under threat of prosecution," said Ball.
Ball said he started the bill after learning about an Alabama family that moved to Colorado so they could give their daughter the drug. She suffered from severe seizures.
There are 20 states who have already legalized medical marijuana, with two states legalizing the drug completely.