A 15-person panel in Alabama convened for the primary time Tuesday to think about whether or not medical marijuana is true for the state.

The panel, referred to as the Medical Hashish Examine Fee, was born out of a invoice to legalize medical cannabis that was launched within the Alabama state legislature earlier this 12 months. As lawmakers known as for extra data, the laws was shifted from a proposal to legalize medical marijuana to as an alternative appoint a fee to check the difficulty.

Practically three months later, the fee met Monday on the state capital of Montgomery, listening to shows on medical marijuana insurance policies in different states, in addition to appeals from advocates.

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

“He had Parkinson’s for over 10 years,” Cynthia stated, as quoted by AL.com. “At occasions his legs, more often than not for the final three years, his legs would really feel like he was in vice grips.”

The web site famous that Atkinson and her late husband traveled to Colorado in 2015 to hunt remedy, and that he discovered reduction from patches containing THC.

However in contrast to Colorado, which grew to become one of many first two states to legalize pot for leisure use in 2012, such merchandise stay very a lot unlawful in Alabama. As such, Atkinson stated her husband relied on opioids towards the tip of his life.

“He fought the nice combat,” she stated. “However I do imagine that there would have been rather a lot much less negative effects because of attempting one thing that’s rather more pure. It’s a plant, it’s not an artificial chemical.”

The chairman of the fee is Republican state Sen. Tim Melson, who sponsored the invoice to legalize medical cannabis earlier this 12 months.

Melson’s unique laws would have given the go-ahead for medical doctors in Alabama to suggest medical marijuana for sufferers affected by roughly a dozen situations, together with most cancers, epilepsy, a number of sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress dysfunction.

Medical marijuana is authorized in additional than 30 states throughout the U.S., however implementation has lagged in lots of locations over issues that pot stays unlawful on the federal stage. Beneath the Managed Substances Act, marijuana is labeled as a “Schedule 1” drug, the identical class as heroin.

Melson stated in Might that he understood the misgivings of a few of his colleagues.

“It’s an enormous step,” Melson stated on the time. “And everyone is stepping out of their consolation zone. You’re asking for a Schedule 1 drug to be given to sufferers. And it’s the identical drug that’s been loved and abused by folks all through the years, centuries and centuries.”

Beneath the revised invoice, the Medical Hashish Examine Fee will maintain a minimum of three public hearings like one carried out Tuesday earlier than reporting its findings to the legislature in December.