Alabama’s state Senate passed a bill Thursday legalizing medical marijuana. The proposal would set up a new commission to regulate usage of the drug, and it would require a patient to have approval by two doctors before receiving the marijuana. Patients must also undergo a criminal background check. The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration. If it wins approval there and is signed into law by the governor, Alabama would join 33 other states that permit medical marijuana.
Next week, the Alabama Senate is expected to resume debate on a controversial bill to make performing abortions a felony. The Senate abruptly stopped the debate this week when an argument arose among lawmakers over an amendment that would make an exception for women who were victims of rape or incest. Opponents of the bill call it the most severe anti-abortion legislation in the nation; proponents hope it will lead to a Supreme Court challenge of the Roe vs. Wade decision.