On November 14, the Alabama House Committee on Health, held a hearing on the issue of medical marijuana in Alabama. It was evident that the purpose of the hearing was to kill HB 2, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients' Rights Act.
In his closing remarks at the hearing, Chairman McClendon, Republican St. Clair Springs, said, "Medical marijuana is an issue supported by an extremely small group of people in Alabama, while the vast majority of the population is opposed to this type of legislation." He went on to say that, there would have to be a "sea of change" in public opinion before this issue is considered by his committee.
The problem is that the most recent poll on medical marijuana in Alabama, conducted by the Mobile Register and the University of South Alabama found that 75 percent of respondents supported legalizing marijuana for medical use under a doctor's supervision. I know that the chairman has seen the polling information because I personally placed a copy of it in his hand. In other words, it is not that the chairman does not know about the polling, it is that he chooses to ignore it.
Why would Chairman McClendon claim that there is no support for this issue when he has been provided with evidence to the contrary?
If the chairman uses a factually inaccurate reason for not holding a vote, then he is completely out of touch with the people of Alabama, the issues that come before his committee, or he is holding the legislation for his own personal reasons.
Chairman Jim McClendon thought that by holding his little dog and pony show, he would discourage the medical marijuana community in Alabama. Much to his surprise, it is not producing the results that he desired. Apparently, the people of Alabama are not as stupid as Chairman McClendon would like to believe, everyone saw his hearing for the hoax that it was. The blowback against the Republican leadership in the house following coverage of the hearing has been tremendous.
If you would like to ask Jim McClendon why he refuses to allow a vote on medical marijuana in Alabama, his contact information can the found on his profile at the Alabama legislature's website.
While it is evident by his actions that Jim McClendon is holding this legislation, what is not certain is if it is of his own accord.
During my many conversations with Jim McClendon, during the 2012 session, he constantly implied that he was getting pressure to kill the bill from Speaker Mike Hubbard. I tried to schedule appointment with the speaker's office and was told that he did not have time to meet with me. I did receive a call from the Speakers policy analyst, I asked "Why is the speaker holding our bill?" He said that the Speaker "didn't think the bill was right for Alabama."
Medical research supports the use of marijuana as medicine, the people of Alabama support the use of marijuana as medicine, but these two men have decided among themselves that they know better than the people they were elected to represent.
The people of Alabama overwhelmingly support is issue. If the house leadership will not listen to the will of the people, then the people of Alabama should elect someone who will.