Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed legislation legalizing medical cannabis on May 17, 2021. Known as the Darren Wesley “Ato” Hall Compassion Act, the law permits the use of medical cannabis to treat certain medical conditions including Crohn’s disease, depression, epilepsy, HIV/AIDs, panic disorder, Parkinson’s disease, persistent nausea, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic or intractable pain, among others. The law was effective immediately upon signing by the Governor, although medical cannabis will not become available for at least a year.
Medical cannabis may be used in a variety of forms including oral tablet, capsule or tincture; gel, oil, cream or other topical preparations; suppository; transdermal patch; nebulizer; liquid oil for administration using an inhaler. Medical cannabis may not be used by smoking or vaping, or by consuming food products such as cookies or candies. In addition, the law does not permit recreational marijuana use.
The medical cannabis law contains many favorable provisions for employers. Specifically:
Alabama employers should review the law to determine whether any revisions to drug and alcohol testing policies or other workplace policies will be necessary.