Marijuana bill deserves consideration

Published 1:05 am Saturday, February 2, 2013

At first blush, it’s unlikely that many in Covington County would support a bill that could come before the Alabama Legislature this year.

The bill, pre-filed in the House by Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, would legalize the medical use of marijuana.

Because we have been conditioned to think of marijuana only as an illegal substance, many would oppose this bill. But stop to think about having to watch someone you love suffer in pain. Those who have been there know that there is little they wouldn’t do to provide that loved one relief.

Currently, cancer patients and other chronically ill patients in Alabama cannot legally use this substance that has been part of the world’s pharmacology for centuries. Proponents of this measure tell stories about elderly women going to unsafe neighborhoods to get marijuana for their ailing husbands, of people who previously have had serious addiction problems from prescription drugs like Lortab and Oxycontin, but who can manage their chronic pain and function in society by cooking with or smoking marijuana.

Eighteen states currently have legalized medical marijuana and two states, Washington and Colorado, have legalized the general use of the drug in small amounts. But using marijuana remains a violation of federal law. In a session that promises much bluster against the federal government, we’re guessing state lawmakers will bow to the feds on this issue.

The 2013 session begins Tuesday and Todd’s bill is the first issue scheduled to be considered Wednesday by the House Health Committee.

It’s likely that the bill will die there, but we hope lawmakers will be more compassionate than that.