Alabama has become the latest US state to legalise medicinal cannabis. A bill signed by Governor Kay Ivey this week means people with one of 16 qualifying medical conditions can purchase medicinal cannabis with the recommendation of a doctor.

Approved conditions include cancer-related nausea, vomiting, or chronic pain; Crohn’s disease; depression; epilepsy; HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss; panic disorder; Parkinson’s disease; persistent nausea; post-traumatic stress disorder; sickle cell anemia; spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and Tourette’s syndrome.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

The bill allows medicinal cannabis to be delivered in pill form, via skin patches and topicals, but smoking and vaping products are specifically prohibited.

Ivey said: “This is certainly a sensitive and emotional issue and something that is continually being studied. On the state level, we have had a study group that has looked closely at this issue, and I am interested in the potential good medical cannabis can have for those with chronic illnesses or what it can do to improve the quality of life of those in their final days.”

Meanwhile, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has signed a bill to allow recreational cannabis sales to begin in January 2022.

Montana residents voted by 57% to legalise adult-use cannabis in a ballot initiative during the 2020 election, one of five states to approve cannabis reform in November.

The initiative legalised the possession and use of cannabis for adults over 21, imposed a 20% tax on sales, required the Department of Revenue to develop rules to regulate cannabis businesses, and allowed for the resentencing or expungement of cannabis-related crimes.

Under the bill, existing medical cannabis providers will be able to get a licence to sell the drug recreationally. Montana legalised cannabis for medical use in 2004.