CONSULTATION FEE RANGE
MMJ PURCHASING LIMITS
- MAXIMUM OF 50MG OF DELTA-9-THC PER DAY; A PHYSICIAN MAY RECOMMEND AN INCREASE TO 75MG AFTER 3 MONTHS IN CERTAIN CASES
MINIMUM AGE LIMIT
Alabama banned marijuana in 1931, and the state remained rigidly against the plant for approximately 90 years. Numerous recent attempts to legalize medical marijuana failed, beginning with The Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients Rights Act in 2012. Another bill, three years later, didn’t make it as far as the Senate. Even legislation to reduce cannabis penalties failed in 2019.
Marijuana advocates in Alabama finally got the news they were waiting for in May 2021 when the state legalized MMJ. However, while the law came into effect immediately, AL residents still can’t legally purchase medical marijuana as the program is still in development.
Therefore, it will be impossible to get your Alabama medical card until 2023 at the earliest. Nonetheless, the day when residents can apply for an MMJ card is fast approaching, and this guide shows you what to do. It also provides up-to-date information on the program’s provisions.
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Alabama Medical Marijuana Laws
At present, the possession of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor. You could receive a prison sentence of up to a year and a fine of $6,000. If you are caught with any amount for a reason other than personal use, you are punished with a mandatory minimum prison term of one year and one day because it is a felony. The sale of any amount carries a minimum term of two years and a maximum of 20 years.
The cultivation of marijuana in Alabama is a felony with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years as the punishment. If convicted of “Manufacture First Degree,” you could spend between ten years and life in prison. Possessing any amount of hash or concentrate is a felony with a prison term ranging from one year and one day to five years as the penalty if convicted.
How to Get a Alabama Medical Marijuana Card
There has been a delay in implementing the medical marijuana program. The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) only approved the final rules in August 2022, approximately 15 months after Senate Bill 46, the MMJ program, was signed into law.
The AMCC only started the licensing process in September 2022, with the deadline for receiving medical marijuana business applications set for December 30, 2022. However, MMJ businesses will only be awarded the licenses in June 2023.
At this point, doctors can’t begin the certification process to recommend medical marijuana to qualified patients. Therefore, Alabama residents must wait until the second half of 2023 to submit their applications. When the time comes, here is the process.
Step 1 – Get in Touch with an AL Healthcare Provider
Alabama will follow the lead of almost every other state with an MMJ program. However, unlike most states, you must be at least 19 years old in Alabama to apply rather than 18. Schedule a consultation with a licensed doctor in the state. They will ask questions about your medical condition.
A doctor must verify that you have a qualifying condition and determine that conventional therapy and treatments have failed to help.
The current law says the doctor must verify that you have a qualifying medical condition. They must also determine that conventional therapy and treatments have failed to help.
Furthermore, you must use a doctor with whom you have an ongoing patient relationship.
Step 2 – Schedule a Consultation
Finding a physician in the early days of the program may prove challenging. Alabama doctors who wish to certify patients for MMJ must complete periodic training classes and establish an “expectation” that they’ll continue to provide care to patients.
Rules drafted by the State Board of Medical Examiners also state that physicians must register with the AMCC and the Drug Enforcement Administration. In addition, doctors must have practiced in AL for a minimum of three years in most cases.
Once you find a doctor who ticks the above boxes, you will have an in-person consultation to decide whether you’re eligible for MMJ. The doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical condition. You will only receive a certification if you prove that conventional treatments have failed to help your condition.
If approved, the doctor will recommend a treatment plan and provide the written certification you need to complete your application.
Step 3 – Sign up for an AL State Government Account
Once you receive a doctor’s recommendation, you will have the chance to register with the state’s marijuana patient registry system. Those looking to apply will know if they can do so online or via a postal address closer to the time. Please note that you must submit your application within 60 days of receiving the doctor’s certification.
Step 4 – Visit a Dispensary
The state has yet to release information on how long it will take to process applications. You’ll likely receive a physical MMJ card in the post a few weeks after approval. There are no details on whether applicants will also receive a temporary digital card.
Who Can Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Alabama?
To apply for a medical marijuana card in AL, you must be a resident of the state aged 19+ with a qualifying medical condition.
Cost of MMJ Card in AL
While the state has yet to confirm it, the suggestion is that the maximum application fee will be $65. A doctor’s consultation will probably range from $150 to $300. Therefore, the medical marijuana card cost in AL could be over $350, depending on the physician you use.
AL MMJ Card Qualifying Conditions
Here are the AL medical marijuana card qualifying conditions:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Panic disorder
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Sickle cell anemia
- A terminal illness
- Epilepsy or any condition that causes seizures
- Cachexia, weight loss, chronic pain, nausea, or vomiting related to cancer
- Nausea or weight loss related to HIV/AIDS
- Spasticity associated with spinal cord injury, ALS, or MS
- Any condition that causes chronic or intractable pain where conventional treatments and therapies haven’t worked
- Persistent nausea that traditional treatments haven’t helped (unrelated to pregnancy)
How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in AL?
It isn’t easy to provide a clear timeline as the program has yet to begin. We will know more when the AMCC is ready to allow patients to apply for medical marijuana.
How to Renew My Alabama Medical Card?
The AMCC will notify each patient 45 calendar days before their MMJ card expires. The renewal process will involve being recertified by a physician and completing a similar application process as before. The AMCC stresses that renewal fees, submissions, and documentation must be sent at least 14 calendar days before the MMJ card expires.
It seems as if AL will follow the lead of other medical marijuana programs by ensuring cards are valid for 12 months.
Other Information on the AL Medical Marijuana License Process
Those hoping that MMJ in Alabama will lead to recreational cannabis are likely to be disappointed. Even lawmakers who supported this bill are adamant that the state will only permit marijuana for medical reasons.
In its current form, it is stricter than many other MMJ programs in the United States. Here is some further information based on what we know at present.
What Types of Cannabis Can I Purchase in AL?
MMJ patients in Alabama will NOT be allowed to smoke or vape cannabis. It is also illegal to put cannabis into food such as cookies or candies, sell it as a raw plant, or cover it in sugar! However, eligible cardholders can avail of capsules, oils, tablets, tinctures, creams, gels, and liquids & oils for use in an inhaler. Other legal forms of consumption include nebulizers, suppositories, and transdermal patches.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in AL Online
Prospective MMJ patients will not be allowed to avail of online consultations in Alabama. The program only allows for in-person appointments at present.
Can I Register My Child for Medical Marijuana in AL?
Yes. Applicants aged 18 or under must be state residents certified by a qualifying physician. Minors in Alabama must also have a parent or guardian caregiver when applying for an MMJ card. Also, they cannot use products containing more than 3% THC.
Where Can I Purchase MMJ in Alabama?
The state intends to issue 12 cultivation licenses and four processor licenses. Four dispensaries will also receive licenses, and they can have a maximum of three locations across Alabama. Therefore, there will be a maximum of 12 dispensaries. Only five facilities can cultivate, process, transport, and dispense marijuana in AL.
How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?
MMJ cardholders will be allowed legal cannabis containing a maximum of 50mg of THC each day. After three months, the doctor can increase the dosage to 75mg in certain circumstances. There is no dosage limit for terminally ill patients. Physicians in Alabama can’t prescribe MMJ; they can only set a recommended intake form.
According to Alabama’s MMJ law, cardholders will not be subject to arrest or prosecution if they possess up to 70 daily dosages of medical cannabis. The number of daily doses of MMJ purchased by a cardholder or caregiver is capped to the lesser of:
- A 60-day supply
- The number of dosages equal to the number of days since the purchaser last bought MMJ
- The registered certified doctor’s recommendation
Can You Grow Marijuana in Alabama with a Medical Marijuana Card?
No. It will remain illegal to cultivate cannabis at home. Only companies with the requisite licenses can grow marijuana in Alabama.
Where Can I Use My Medical Marijuana Card Alabama?
Even as an MMJ cardholder, you can only use marijuana in a private residence. Please note that the state has no plans to protect employees with medical cannabis cards. You can still have your contract terminated for testing positive for THC metabolites during a drug screening. Employers don’t have to permit or accommodate the use of MMJ.
In Alabama, employers can refuse to hire an individual or fire them for using medical marijuana, even if the person does so legally.
Companies can also create a drug testing policy against employees that use MMJ.
Will an Alabama Medical Marijuana Card Be Valid in Other States?
Out-of-state medical marijuana cards will not be valid in AL. However, some states with MMJ programs may permit the use of Alabama cards.
What Are the Caregiver Rules?
MMJ patients can appoint a caregiver to buy and transport the cannabis on their behalf. This individual must be 21+, apply for a registry card and receive approval. They cannot consume marijuana themselves unless they also have a medical marijuana card. Caregivers can have more than one patient but must pay for a registry card for each one. The state law also makes provisions for limiting the number of patients a caregiver can serve later on.
Minors can apply for an MMJ card in Alabama but must have a registered caregiver.
What if I Lose My Medical Card in Alabama?
If you lose your MMJ card, it is essential to get in touch with the AMCC to get a replacement. Until you have a new card in your possession, you can’t legally buy medical marijuana in Alabama.
When Did Medical Marijuana in Alabama Become Legal?
Alabama’s resistance to marijuana meant it was a major surprise to hear that Governor Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 46 into law on May 17, 2021. She did so after the bill easily passed the Senate in February 2021 and the House in May 2021.
SB 46 allows the use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation if they certify that a patient has one of the qualifying medical conditions. A physician must also certify that traditional treatments have failed to improve the patient’s condition.
The law became effective immediately, but residents must wait patiently until the AMCC awards licenses to cannabis businesses and allows doctors to start seeing patients. Realistically, it may not be possible to buy MMJ legally in Alabama until late 2023.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Huntsville and Montgomery?
The state’s capital, Montgomery, and the most populous city, Huntsville, will likely be the locations for several of the 12 dispensaries permitted by Alabama’s MMJ law. Residents of both cities will probably find it easier to locate doctors qualified to certify medical marijuana patients.
MMJ Card for Veterans in AL
As PTSD and intractable pain are among the qualifying conditions, veterans in Alabama may be eligible for an MMJ card. It is also possible that some clinics will offer military discounts on consultations.
Final Thoughts on Getting an Alabama Medical Marijuana Card
Marijuana advocates in Alabama have waited a long time for the plant to become legal for medical use in the state. Yet, even though there is officially an MMJ program in the state, residents can’t apply for a card. Unfortunately, it is necessary to wait a little longer to buy medical marijuana legally in Alabama. Dispensaries may not be in a position to sell the substance to qualified MMJ patients until the end of 2023.
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