A Madison lawmaker just introduced a bill to make medical marijuana legal in Alabama.
Representative Mike Ball introduced the bill on Wednesday. He says he believes it will help others in the state.
Part of the bill includes the Care Act that would make it legal for a person with a qualifying condition to use medical marijuana. Those who qualify would have to register for a medical cannabis card before being able to use weed for medical use.
"If you got severe joint pain because you're 60 years old and you've beaten on your body your entire life and you have a choice between Vicodin and a joint, I think it's pretty obvious which one is less damaging," Nathan McMinn said.
McMinn says he has personally seen how medical marijuana has helped his family in Colorado deal with pain, so he was glad when he heard a North Alabama lawmaker wants to make it legal in his home state.
"It's really helped them, so I don't see why it shouldn't help others," McMinn said.
But not everyone agrees the bill will help those who qualify.
"I think it's a terrible idea because I think we are introducing another addictive medicine to the world that we don't know a lot about," said Dr. Jason Smith, a Huntsville Hospital pulmonologist.
Dr. Smith believes medical marijuana will cause more harm in the long run, and would create a crisis similar to the opioid epidemic.
"It is a drug of addiction. At least that's what it's defined as right now. No matter if it's a small amount or a large amount, the more you use, the more you are going to want it," Dr. Smith said. "We have federal as well as state boards dictating what narcotics are supposed to be written, and how they're written, and we have the same exact problems. Yet, we are going to introduce another potential issue."
Representative Ball says right now, the bill is being tweaked by a health committee. Once those changes are made, the bill will go to the Senate.
On Tuesday, Alabama Senator Bobby Singleton introduced Senate Bill 98 to amend existing law for unlawful possession of marijuana. To read that bill, click here.