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

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

Almost three months later, the fee met Monday on the state capital of Montgomery, listening to displays 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 therapy, and that he discovered reduction from patches containing THC.

However in contrast to Colorado, which turned 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 top of his life.

“He fought the nice combat,” she stated. “However I do consider that there would have been rather a lot much less unwanted 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 yr.

Melson’s authentic laws would have given the go-ahead for docs in Alabama to advocate medical marijuana for sufferers affected by roughly a dozen circumstances, 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 considerations that pot stays unlawful on the federal stage. Below the Managed Substances Act, marijuana is labeled as a “Schedule 1” drug, the identical class as heroin.

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

“It’s a giant 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.”

Below the revised invoice, the Medical Hashish Research Fee will maintain at the least three public hearings like one performed Tuesday earlier than reporting its findings to the legislature in December.