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What does Alabama’s medical marijuana law mean for you?

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Earlier this year, Alabama caught up with several other states and introduced a medical marijuana bill. Yet, as with any new bill, misunderstandings could lead to you facing criminal charges.

Local police forces can take time to get up to speed on new legislation, and they could arrest you for something that is now legal. You could also misinterpret the new laws and think you are allowed to do something you are not.

A doctor must approve you to use medical marijuana

You suffer from long-term back pain and have heard marijuana can help it. Does that mean you can self subscribe? No. 

Medical marijuana use requires the approval of an Alabama doctor. Not just any doctor, but one who has passed a specific exam to allow them to prescribe medical marijuana. Even then, they will only be able to prescribe it for a limited range of conditions and only if other more conventional treatments have failed. Chronic back pain does not figure as a qualifying condition.

While the state has passed the law, you may need to wait over a year until everything is in place for doctors to approve people to use marijuana for medical purposes.

What happens if you use marijuana to ease your pain in the meantime?

If you think marijuana will help your condition, there is currently no legal way to confirm this without traveling to a state where recreational use is permitted. However valid your need, Alabama still punishes recreational users. Until you can get approval as a medical user, that is how state law classifies you. If arrested for marijuana possession, a judge is unlikely to accept that you thought it was legal, but you may be able to contest the charges on other grounds.