Alabama medical cannabis application deadline approaching
By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Asher Redd
Cities across Alabama have scrambled to submit applications for a license to open medical marijuana dispensaries. The application deadline of Dec. 30 sent some cities into a last-minute effort to get theirs turned in.
Almost 30 cities have already sent their application to the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.
Tori Young has a medical cannabis prescription in her home state of Maryland.
“There’s so much regulation with medical marijuana. They can’t change it. They can’t chemically alter it the way it would if you found it on the street from down the road,” said Young.
Thirteen medical cannabis dispensaries will be licensed to operate across the state.
Young said she was the youngest person in the state of Maryland to get a medical marijuana prescription when she did. She said her doctor gave her two options… opioids or medical marijuana.
“It was better than continuing to deal with the pain and not actually doing anything with my life at such a young age, but also not wanting to get hooked on pills,” Young said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports from July 2021 to July 2022, the national overdose rate increased by 0.4%. Alabama had one of the sharpest spikes, with a 14.42% increase. To view the full chart, click here.
“It’ll also be nice for doctors to have an alternative to the opioids they’re prescribing. Right now, it seems like there should be something in between Tylenol and Percocet. And right now, there kind of isn’t the option,” said Tuscaloosa resident Aidan Dollins.
According to the 2023 Alabama Drug Threat Assessment conducted by the Alabama Operations Center and the Gulf Coast HIDTA, fentanyl deaths across the state increased by 139.5%. Click here to read the full study.
“We’re overprescribing pain killers left, right, and center. And you know, dude can sit on their couch and drink rum all day and never go to Alcoholics Anonymous, but we’re not out here trying to ban rum,” Dollins said.
Dollins said he hopes if Tuscaloosa can obtain a medical marijuana dispensary the money wound go toward fixing Tuscaloosa’s weak spots.
“Tuscaloosa could really use some money for road maintenance. We could use some money for modernizing our education system, getting newer books in our schools and getting newer equipment in our schools,” Dollins said.
The application window opened in September 2022.
According to the AMCC, more than 600 businesses have paid the $2,500 application fee in hopes of selling cannabis when it becomes available.