A 15-individual panel in Alabama convened for the 1st time Tuesday to take into account regardless of whether health-related marijuana is suitable for the state.

The panel, identified as the Healthcare Cannabis Study Commission, was born out of a bill to legalize health-related cannabis that was introduced in the Alabama state legislature earlier this year. As lawmakers known as for a lot more facts, the legislation was shifted from a proposal to legalize health-related marijuana to as an alternative appoint a commission to study the challenge.

Almost 3 months later, the commission met Monday at the state capital of Montgomery, listening to presentations on health-related marijuana policies in other states, as effectively as appeals from advocates.

The commission heard from Cynthia Atkinson, the widow of a regional meteorologist, Dan Atkinson, who died from Parkinson’s in 2017.

“He had Parkinson’s for more than 10 years,” Cynthia stated, as quoted by AL.com. “At instances his legs, most of the time for the final 3 years, his legs would really feel like he was in vice grips.”

The web-site noted that Atkinson and her late husband traveled to Colorado in 2015 to seek therapy, and that he located relief from patches containing THC.

But in contrast to Colorado, which became one particular of the 1st two states to legalize pot for recreational use in 2012, such solutions stay incredibly substantially illegal in Alabama. As such, Atkinson stated her husband relied on opioids toward the finish of his life.

“He fought the excellent fight,” she stated. “But I do think that there would have been a lot much less side effects as a outcome of attempting some thing that is substantially a lot more all-natural. It is a plant, it is not a synthetic chemical.”

The chairman of the commission is Republican state Sen. Tim Melson, who sponsored the bill to legalize health-related cannabis earlier this year.

Melson’s original legislation would have provided the go-ahead for medical doctors in Alabama to suggest health-related marijuana for sufferers suffering from roughly a dozen situations, like cancer, epilepsy, many sclerosis, and post-traumatic anxiety disorder.

Healthcare marijuana is legal in a lot more than 30 states across the U.S., but implementation has lagged in several locations more than issues that pot remains illegal on the federal level. Beneath the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is labeled as a “Schedule 1” drug, the identical category as heroin.

Melson stated in May possibly that he understood the misgivings of some of his colleagues.

“It’s a large step,” Melson stated at the time. “And everyone is stepping out of their comfort zone. You are asking for a Schedule 1 drug to be provided to sufferers. And it is the identical drug that is been enjoyed and abused by persons all through the years, centuries and centuries.”

Beneath the revised bill, the Healthcare Cannabis Study Commission will hold at least 3 public hearings like one particular performed Tuesday just before reporting its findings to the legislature in December.