Nurse anesthetist Christine Carr warns against medical marijuana ordinances, advises what can be done

The City of Jasper is one of many in Alabama that has approved ordinances allowing business licenses to dispensaries in the medical marijuana industry. This week, the approval concerned some residents, who gathered to hear from Christine Carr, CRNA.

Carr has over 27 years of experience in the medical field and has worked with Drug Free Alabama. She has been vocal about problems she has identified with Alabama’s medical marijuana law. She has spoken at city council meetings and other organizational meetings across the state. Carr told the group this week that she believes the issues the state will face with medical marijuana start with the law that she feels is incomplete.

“We need to see a lot of changes happen in Montgomery first,” Carr told the group in Jasper. “And if you do not opt out now and you just let them come in, the opportunity to really see some good changes in Montgomery will go by because there will not be the kind of pressure that we need to make sure that these changes happen.”

While she wants to educate municipalities to prevent them from opting into medical marijuana authorization, she wants citizens and city leaders to be aware of changes she thinks need to be made if they have already opted in. Carr said it isn’t too late until a business has opened up shop.

“But there is going to be very little you can do for your area unless you get them to opt right back out again,” said Carr. “Because once they put down their money and they put down roots, they will threaten to sue Jasper out of existence, should you resist and try to get them out afterward.”

Carr urged cities to listen to community members about concerns, study the data and consider tightening zoning laws.

A concern Carr identified with the law is the availability of medical marijuana to pregnant women. She said THC is extremely dangerous to developing babies and can cause severe birth defects.

“If they’re going to call this product medicine, we should make sure we’re protecting our babies,” said Carr.

Carr suggested that handling medical marijuana should be similar to regulations on Accutane. In those cases, women of childbearing age must have a negative pregnancy test before picking up their prescriptions.

Other things Carr believes should be included in the medical marijuana laws include required mental health testing, required caregivers for those who are underage, a minimum age for cardholders, prohibiting caregivers from using medical marijuana and narrowing down the conditions list by immediately removing depression, panic disorder and PTSD.

Some cannabis-based medications are already available, and Carr said those are enough for people who need them, including cancer patients on chemotherapy and patients with other severe conditions.

“We already have cannabis-based medicines that are FDA-approved. They are available for patients where cannabis, CBD and THC mainly can provide some help for some conditions,” Carr explained. “Cannabis does not cure anything and really is not a legitimate help for almost any kind of condition, real studies show.”

Supporters of medical marijuana say it can help with conditions such as autism, Crohn’s disease, HIV weight loss, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia, Tourette’s syndrome and more.

In Alabama, dispensaries will not be places where people go to purchase medical marijuana freely. They must have a prescription or Alabama Medical Cannabis card to purchase, and no smokeable marijuana will be legal in Alabama. Medical marijuana will be permitted in pill form or in creams, patches, and other forms that do not include a leafy substance. The use of cannabis products would be prohibited on the site of each dispensary. The first dispensary in Alabama will likely open towards the end of the year.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has received ordinances or resolutions concerning dispensaries from the following jurisdictions:

·        Alexander City

·        Ashland City

·        Athens City

·        Attalla City

·        Bayou La Batre City

·        Bessemer City

·        Birmingham City

·        Bullock County

·        Butler County

·        Center Point City

·        Coosada City

·        Cowarts City

·        Cullman City

·        Cullman County

·        Dallas County

·        Daphne City

·        Decatur City

·        Demopolis City

·        Dothan City

·        Enterprise City

·        Fairfield City

·        Florence City

·        Foley City

·        Gadsden City

·        Glencoe City

·        Good Hope City

·        Greene County

·        Greenville City

·        Henagar City

·        Houston County

·        Huntsville City – (Huntsville Proposed Zoning Ordinance) – (Huntsville Facilities Zoning Letter Application Form)

·        Ider City

·        Jasper City

·        Killen City

·        Lauderdale County

·        Loxley City

·        Macon County

·        Magnolia Springs City

·        Malvern City

·        Midfield City

·        Mobile City

·        Monroeville City

·        Montgomery  City

·        Northport City

·        Opelika City

·        Owens Cross Roads City

·        Oxford City

·        Phenix City

·        Priceville City

·        Riverside City

·        Robertsdale City

·        Russell County

·        Russellville City

·        Scottsboro City

·        Selma City

·        Semmes City

·        Spanish Fort City

·        Sylvania City

·        Thomasville City

·        Troy City

·        Tuscaloosa City

·        Tuscumbia City

·        Union Springs City

·        Vernon City

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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