LEGISLATIVE WRAP-UP, 0721 ALBJ, Vol. 82 No. 4 Pg. 276 (July, 2021)

PositionVol. 82 4 Pg. 276


No. Vol. 82 No. 4 Pg. 276

Alabama Bar Lawyer

July, 2021

Othni J. Lathram Director, Legislative Services Agency

For more information, visit www.lsa.alabama.gov.

2021 Legislative Recap

This edition of this column will cover noteworthy legislation that passed during the 2021 Regular Legislative Session. There was a total of 545 acts that became law this session, making it an active year for the legislature. Given the volume of acts adopted, we can only highlight select general bills most likely to be encountered by practitioners around the state. This month's edition serves as the first of two parts, with this part focusing on legislation dealing with health, medical cannabis, state and county government, tobacco and alcoholic beverages, firearms, the Department of Corrections, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Part 2, which will be presented in the next edition of this column, is expected to cover other various topics, including broadband Internet deployment, law enforcement, criminal law and procedure, civil law and procedure, elections, and taxation. Summaries of all of the general acts can be found at http://lsa.state.al.us under the Legal Division Publications.


Pharmacy Benefits Managers (Act 2021-341, SB227)

Senator Tom Butler

The act: (1) prohibits a pharmacy benefits manager from: (i) incentivizing a patient's choice in pharmacies, (ii) denying a pharmacy from participating as a contract provider of pharmacy services for a health benefit plan if the pharmacy meets certain contract terms, (iii) steering an insured to use a mail-order pharmacy or a pharmacy benefits manager affiliate, and (iv) limiting certain powers of a pharmacy; (2) provides further for the licensure of pharmacy benefits managers and for oversight by the Department of Insurance; (3) provides for civil penalties; and (4) provide exceptions. The act also provides that, commencing January 1, 2022, a pharmacy benefits manager licensed by the Commissioner of Insurance prior to January 1, 2022 is required to submit a new application in accordance with the new licensure requirements of the act, and provides that any license issued prior to January 1,2022 expires on the date the new license is issued or on April 1, 2022, whichever occurs earlier. Effective: August 1,2021

Medical Cannabis: Darren Wesley "A to" Hall Compassion Act (Act 2021-450, SB46)

Senator Tim Melson and Representative Mike Ball

The act (1) provides a program permitting patients diagnosed with a specified medical condition to be certified by his or her physician to obtain a medical cannabis card and purchase and use medical cannabis; (2) specifies which specific medical conditions qualify a patient to use medical cannabis after documentation indicates that conventional medical treatment or therapy has failed, including: (i) Autism Spectrum Disorder; (ii) cancer-related cachexia, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, or chronic pain; (iii) Crohn's Disease; (iv) depression; (v) epilepsy; (vi) HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss; (vii) panic disorder; (viii) Parkinson's disease; (ix) persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, with exceptions; (x) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; (xi) Sickle Cell Anemia; (xii) spasticity associated with a motor neuron disease, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); (xiii) any terminal illness; (xiv)Tourette's Syndrome; and (xv) a condition causing chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or has proven ineffective; (3) defines medical cannabis to include products derived from hemp (mainly for CBD derivatives) or marijuana (mainly for THC derivatives), or both, processed into a specified form that does not contain raw plant material and is not smokable or vapeable; (4) establishes the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission and provide for the appointment and qualifications of members; (5) authorizes the commission to generally administer the medical cannabis program and more specifically: (i) issue medical cannabis cards; (ii) establish a patient registry database; (iii) establish a seed-to-sale tracking system; and (iv) license and regulate the processing, dispensing, transporting, and testing of cannabis plants and processed medical cannabis products; (6) provides for physicians with special training and registration by the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners to certify certain qualified patients to use medical cannabis product(s) and recommend the type and dosage of the product; (7) authorizes the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners to regulate certain aspects of the patient-physician relationship with regard to certifying patients for medical cannabis use; (8) permits qualified caregivers 21 years of age or older, with exceptions, to assist qualified patients in the use of medical cannabis; (9) provides limits on the maximum amount of delta-9-THC that may be recommended to a patient; (10) provides for a 60-day limit on the amount of medical cannabis products that may be purchased at one time; (11) provides that the patient registry database be used to track who has been issued a medical cannabis card, the dosage and type of product that may be used, and the amount and date of products dispensed to each individual patient; (12) provides access to the patient registry database by certain health care practitioners, the Board of Medical Examiners, pharmacists, dispensaries, and law enforcement agencies; (13) authorizes the Department of Agriculture and Industries to license and regulate the cultivation of cannabis; (14) authorizes licensure for independent cultivators, processors, dispensaries, secured transporters, and testing laboratories and for integrated facilities which conduct cultivating, processing, and dispensing under one license; (15) establishes licensure fees and qualifications for applicants seeking licensure, including residency requirements for all applicants and horticulture or agronomic experience requirements for cultivator applicants; (16) limits the number of licenses that may be issued by the Medical Cannabis Commission or Department of Agriculture and Industries; (17) establishes packaging and labelling requirements for all medical cannabis products, including a prohibition on making products that appeal to minors, making products tamper resistant and tamper evident, and including information on the lot and batch number in order to track product quality and consistency; (18) establishes security requirements for all medical cannabis facilities; (19) establishes a process for dispensaries to ensure patients have a valid medical cannabis card, are dispensed the correct product, and are not dispensed more than the recommended dosage; (20) prohibits dispensaries from operating in any unincorporated area of a county that has not adopted a resolution to permit operation or in any municipality that has not adopted an ordinance to permit operation; (21) restricts where medical cannabis products may be possessed or used, including prohibiting the products from being possessed or used on any property of a public K-12 school, daycare or childcare facility, in any correctional facility, or in any motor vehicle unless the medical cannabis is in its original package and is sealed and reasonably inaccessible while the vehicle is moving; (22) restricts the operation of dispensaries within 1,000 feet from any school, daycare, or...

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