Alabama Medical Marijuana Program (2024) Guide

Apply For Alabama Medical Marijuana Card Online

What is the Alabama Medical Cannabis Program?

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Program is still under development. In 2021, Governor Kay Ivey signed the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act, also called SB 46, into law, allowing patients suffering from specific diseases to use medical marijuana to treat their conditions. Although patients are required to be 18 to be able to participate in the program, the Act made provisions for registered caregivers to support minors. A registered caregiver is an individual who fulfills the conditions under Section 20-20A-30(C) of SB 46, is authorized to acquire and possess medical marijuana, and assists one or more registered qualified patients with the use of medical marijuana.

Also, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Program provided for the creation of a patient registry called the Alabama Medical Cannabis Patient Registry System. The registry would be an electronic integrated system capable of tracking physician certifications, patient registrations, medical cannabis cards, daily dosages, types of medical cannabis recommended to patients by their certifying physician, and the dates, amounts, sales, and types of medical marijuana purchased by registered patients at licensed dispensaries.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission will oversee the Alabama medical cannabis program and the patient registry. However, the Department of Agriculture and Industries will be tasked with licensing and regulating medical cannabis cultivation in the state.

How Old to Join the Alabama Medical Cannabis Program?

Yes, unlike other states permitting patients aged 18 or older to participate in their medical marijuana programs, patients are required to be 19 or older to be enrolled in the Alabama Medical Cannabis Program. However, Alabama residents not yet aged 19 may still access medical cannabis under the program if they:

  • Have been certified by their certifying physicians as having qualifying medical conditions; and
  • Are registered with the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission; and
  • Have qualified a designated caregiver who is the patient's parent or approved legal guardian

Minors are not allowed to purchase or possess medical cannabis themselves. However, once they turn 18, they can buy and possess medical cannabis and no longer need caregivers.

Alabama Medical Marijuana Program Qualifying Conditions in 2024

Pursuant to SB 46, the following are the permitted conditions for which physicians are allowed to issue medical cannabis certifications under the Alabama Medical Cannabis Program:

  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy or a condition causing seizures
  • Panic Disorder
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Tourette's Syndrome
  • Persistent nausea
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Spasticity related to multiple sclerosis or a spinal cord injury
  • Cancer-related cachexia, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, chronic pain
  • A condition causing chronic or intractable pain
  • A terminal illness

What Practitioners are Eligible to Recommend the Use of Medical Cannabis?

A physician must be a qualified doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO) to be eligible to issue medical marijuana recommendations in Alabama.

Must a Practitioner Obtain a License Before Issuing a Medical Card Recommendation?

Yes, a physician must have an active license to practice medicine or osteopathy in Alabama to issue a medical cannabis recommendation. The physician must also:

  • Complete a 4-hour medical cannabis course and subsequent examination
  • Have an Alabama Medical Cannabis Certification Permit from the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners (ABME)
  • Have an active, unrestricted license to practice medicine or osteopathy in Alabama
  • Possesses an active, unrestricted ACSC registration
  • Possesses an active, unrestricted, Alabama-specific DEA registration

Do Physicians Need to Manage Patients Before Recommending Them for the Alabama Medical Cannabis Program?

Yes, Alabama law specifies that the certifying physician must establish a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the patient in order to issue a medical cannabis certification. There is an expectation that the certifying physician will provide care on an ongoing basis to the patient.

Do Physicians Have to Join the Alabama Medical Cannabis Program to Recommend Medical Cannabis to Patients?

Yes. A physician must be a registered user of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Patient Registry to issue valid medical cannabis recommendations to patients under the Alabama medical cannabis program.

Can an Alabama Medical Cannabis Program Practitioner Use Telemedicine for Patient Assessment?

No. The Alabama medical cannabis law mandates a physical examination be conducted with the patient in the same room as the recommending physician before any recommendation for medical cannabis use can be made. Furthermore, the law specifies that the registered certifying physician and the patient must both be physically present within Alabama, and any examination, visit, or consultation must take place while both parties are physically situated within the state of Alabama.

How to Find Alabama Medical Marijuana Program Doctors

The State of Alabama does not currently maintain a list of certifying physicians in the state. When the state’s medical cannabis program begins, you can ask your healthcare provider if they are qualified to issue medical cannabis certifications. If not, you can ask the physician for recommendations.

How to Apply for the Alabama Medical Marijuana Program

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Program has yet to commence. The state is still in the process of developing the program. Hence, you cannot apply for inclusion in the program. You may visit the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission website frequently for updates on the application process.

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