Alabama AG comes out against medical marijuana legislation

Alabama AG comes out against medical marijuana legislation
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall says he's "deeply troubled" by experts' identification of parallels between the opioid crisis and states' legalization of medical marijuana. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Attorney General Steve Marshall isn’t buying into the push to legalize medical marijuana in Alabama and is now urging state legislators not to approve any such measure.

In a 4-page letter to state senators and representatives, Marshall laid out his reasons behind pushing back on legalization of the drug.

First, Marshall says he has “a significant threshold concern: state laws that allow any use of marijuana, medical or recreational, are in direct conflict with duly-enacted and clearly-constitutional federal law.”

Conflict with federal law aside, the attorney general spent the majority of his letter focusing on parallels that experts have identified with the state’s and nation’s opioid crisis, for which he said he was “deeply troubled.”

Marshall, who co-chairs the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council and has led the state in filing lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, laid out “six key concerns” he has with approval of medical marijuana.

Those concerns include: addiction, treating opioid addiction with marijuana, long-term use, overstating benefits and downplaying risks, regulation, and mixing marijuana with prescription drugs.

While Marshall said he’s “waited for some time to wade into the debate regarding the legalization of marijuana for medical use,” he’s now coming forward saying he would “view it as an abdication of my duty to you, and to the public, to stay silent on this matter.”

State leaders created the Medical Cannabis Study Commission in the 2019 legislative session and tasked it with providing recommendations on how the state should move forward. That commission submitted its final report on the issue in December as well as a potential bill for the legislature to consider.

To date, more than 30 states have legalized medical marijuana.

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