The Alabama Legislature has unanimously passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana. The legislation now heads to the desk of Gov. Robert Bentley, who has supported the effort.
Under the measure, it will be legal to possess prescribed medical grade, non-intoxicating extract known as CBD, or cannabidiol, Reuters reported. The extract oil is low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the intoxicating entity in marijuana.
The oil was banned by Congress in 1972 after it was deemed to have no medical use. However, some studies have shown it can treat many conditions, including seizures. It has since been legalized in 20 states, the Medical Marijuana ProCon website reported.
Known as Carly’s Law, the Alabama bill was originally conceived to help toddlers suffering from violent seizures as a result of a severe neurological disorder.
The girl’s family appealed to Republican state Rep. Mike Ball, who sponsored the bill, and the governor, who has said he would sign the bill if given the chance.
"It's like a miracle. This does not happen in Alabama. We are the most conservative state," Jena Dalton, of Madison, told AP. Dalton’s young daughter Charlotte has Dravet Syndrome and suffers from hundreds of seizures per month.
The bill also offers $1 million in funding for neurology research into cannabidiol oil at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
"UAB will undertake research into the mechanisms underlying cannabidiol to learn more about its function and effect on seizures," said David Standaert, of the university's Department of Neurology.