Alabama: Compassionate Use Act Passes Out of House Judiciary Today

Press Release April 26, 2005
Media Contact

Rep. Laura Hall at (334) 242-7600 or Tony Newman at (212) 613-8026

MONTGOMERY–A measure that would allow seriously ill and dying patients access to medical marijuana for relief of their symptoms has passed out of the House Judiciary committee today with unanimous support, and is now heading to the house floor for a vote. The compassionate use bill, which is sponsored by Representative Laura Hall (D-Madison), would provide patients with specific, serious illnesses access to this medicine when prescribed by a doctor. According to a 2004 Mobile-Register/University of Alabama poll, 76% of Alabama residents think that adults should be allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes if prescribed by a doctor.

Cullman resident Laura Campbell, a 32-year-old mother of three, suffers from various debilitating diseases, including three forms of arthritis and fibromyalgia syndrome. Campbell is allergic to 95% of pain medications, and in a recent interview with the Auburn Plainsman, she said that marijuana was her only option for pain management. “I’m stuck being a lawbreaker, but I have no other choices,” she said. “Either I can have a quality of life and be a lawbreaker or not break the law and not have a quality of life.”

“I believe this is a matter of choice for individuals with terminal illnesses and chronic pain who have more pain and medical challenges than most of us could ever imagine!” said Representative Laura Hall.

Dr. Michael Saag, Director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Center for AIDS Research, supports legalization for medicinal purposes. “Testimony to its medicinal effect is the development and approval of Marinol for those indications,” he said. “I cannot imagine a logical rationale regarding why marijuana is not allowed as a prescription drug.”

The Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Public Health Association, among many other medical organizations, have all endorsed the medicinal value of marijuana for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting and appetite stimulation.

“Citizens of Alabama with debilitating illnesses should be treated with compassion and their physicians should have every means possible at their disposal to ensure that their pain and suffering is minimal. We applaud the House Judiciary committee for their foresight and Laura Hall for her courage,” said Michael Blain of the Drug Policy Alliance.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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