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State Sen. Melson: If we can rush a COVID-19 vaccine, why not medical marijuana? — ‘Here’s something that has been around for thousands of years’

For the third consecutive year, the Alabama Legislature will consider legalizing medicinal marijuana. Efforts have made progress in both chambers of the legislature in previous years but stalled out.

State Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), an anesthesiologist, leads the effort once again in 2021. During an appearance on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5, Melson insists the bill, which received a favorable report from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, is the same one that had made it through in the past.

“We passed it out last year, and this is the exact same version that came out of the body last year,” he said. “No surprises, no ‘I gotcha,’ no hidden agenda. It’s the same exact version that passed the Senate by a vote of 2-to-1 last year. So, it shouldn’t be controversial in the Senate any more than last year.”

Melson noted the speed at which a COVID-19 vaccine made it to market and argued medical cannabis should be given a chance.

“I have no agenda,” he added. “I’m not doing this for any big business. I’m doing it for the patients. We rushed through a drug for COVID-19 because the mass numbers and the people who do it — you’ve seen the statistics, what 99.997% of survival rate with no treatment, and we’re rushing things through? Here’s something that has been around for thousands of years, and I think the first article on the treatment of seizures was in something like 1460. There’s a long history. There are a lot of studies. People just need to open their eyes, quit stereotyping it and just give it a chance.”

He also responded to critics of the legislation that questioned the bill because it expands government.

“You’ve had guest members talk about those things, and I think some of the things that stood out to him was it creates a new division of government,” Melson added. “Well, it does, but it is self-sustaining with the revenue it generates. It is not like we’re creating another money pit and a division of government. It will be self-sustaining, or at least that’s what the numbers show. And, you have to do that to make sure that it is regulated and treated as the object that it is. It is something that needs to be grown in a sterile environment or a protected environment, so the quality and quantity of the concentrate are known. There’s no impurities. They call it medical, not because they want to say it treats a disease. ‘Medical’ implies that it is pure in substance and there’s no foreign bodies. There’s no impurities. There’s no pesticides, no heavy metals, and the patients get what they’re knowing. That’s why it’s called ‘medical.'”

Melson also addressed criticisms that the new bureaucracy would have the ability to conduct warrantless searches and seizures.

The Lauderdale County lawmaker likened what it would create to the health department, which he said conducts surprise inspections at restaurants, adding that the element of not knowing when an inspection would occur prevents dispensaries from potentially covering up anything that would violate the guidelines set by the new statute.

Melson’s bill received a favorable report from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

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