A medical marijuana bill made it out of committee this week and could go to the Alabama Senate floor for a vote in the next few weeks.
Sen. Tim Melson introduced the bill and said he feels confident in the bill this year and said he has more support than in years past.
"I have a lot more support in the House than I realized. I've had members come up and say 'hey, I've read your bill. You've got good control.' It's a solid bill, and I think people will be surprised [by] some of the individuals who actually go for it," said Melson.
Melson's medical marijuana bill covers everything from an oversight committee, growing registry, how patients can get it and what criteria they have to meet to get it.
"The evidence is very, very convincing. It's not the first tool out of the toolbox and it's not a beat all, cure all, but it is an option for those who have tried other medical options without success and gives them hope," said Melson.
Melson himself wasn't a supporter of medical marijuana until he started doing his own research and talking with patients about it. He also spoke with lawmakers in other states who have similar laws.
"If nothing else is working, why not let them try it? It's been around thousands and thousands of years," said Melson.
Last year, the bill was stopped in its tracks by the coronavirus pandemic, but Melson said this bill is a priority.
"I'm confident that we are going to get it out of the Senate. The pandemic could raise its head again, but I'm feeling pretty comfortable. I think the body is more comfortable. I think I've gained at least two or three more votes in the Senate than last year," said Melson.
Some of Melson's biggest opposition to his bill comes from Attorney General Steve Marshall. Melson said he understands Marshall's stance, but for anyone who is against it to come talk to him and hear why this could benefit so many Alabamians.