This week in the 2020 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 165 (SB165)). I chose not to speak during the hearing, but enlisted others to do so. Among those who spoke against the bill were Rick Hagans, Director of His Place and Hannah Home Ministries in Lee County. Rick spoke at our weekly ALCAP Prayer Breakfast that morning, so I asked him to speak at the public hearing as one who ministers to drug and alcohol addicts. Also speaking against the bill were: Caleb Crosby (Alabama Policy Institute); Lori Herring (RN-C who has had much experience dealing with drug addicts and marijuana users); and Clay Hammac (Director of Shelby County’s Compact 20/20 Anti-Drug Task Force).
The bill “received a favorable report,” meaning that it will now go to the full Senate for a vote. The committee voted 8-1 with one abstention. ALCAP applauds Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Sheffield) for voting NO.
We encourage everyone to contact their State Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on SB165 when it comes to the floor of the Senate for a vote (possibly next week). The author of this bill, Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), claims it is very restrictive, but we know from experience that every year legislators will return to Montgomery and systematically remove the restrictions, as they have done with alcohol over the last several decades. One of the best explanations of why this bill is bad for Alabama is found in a letter sent recently by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall to each of the legislators. You can read that letter by clicking here.
The State Committee of Public Health and the Alabama Department of Public Health have jointly issued the following statement concerning the legalization of marijuana:
“The State Committee of Public Health and the Alabama Department of Public Health do not support the legalization of marijuana for medical use, except through the normal U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. Sound medical research is the basis for modern medical care, and the currently available data on marijuana is incomplete or absent for most clinical indications. While it is recognized that clinical research on a Schedule I substance may be challenging to perform, this is not an acceptable reason to circumvent the FDA approval process.”
Also, this week, House Bill 303 (HB303), sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy), and the companion bill, SB219, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville), were introduced in each house. Both bills, entitled, “The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act,” prohibit gender change therapy for minors. We will keep you updated as these bills make their way through the Legislature. ALCAP supports these companion bills.