Smoking in Alabama: Cigarette Bans and Medical Marijuana Die in Committee

First the good news:

A plan to ban smoking in restaurants went up in smoke this morning in an Alabama House committee.

Sen. Vivian Davis Figures’ proposed constitutional amendments to keep smoking out of restaurants and bars didn’t make it out of the House State Government Committee, putting its passage in the few days left this legislative session in peril.

“I think we as Americans have a right to breath clean air,” said Figures, defending the bill before the committee.

A handful of municipalities in the state, including Montgomery have put limits on smoking. In the Capital City, there’s no puffing allowed in restaurants that serve children.

The news isn’t all that good, though. They will be certain to bring it up again next year — with more money and support behind them.

Now the bad news:

HB663 known as The Alabama Compassionate Care Act, which would allow patients suffering from various debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana as medicine with the approval of their physician, died in the Alabama House Judiciary Committee this session. At this time there will be no further action on the bill until the next legislative session in Jan. 2007. It might also come up in any special session conducted between now and then.

As disappointing as this delay is please know that it is not the end. Our goals at present are to conduct more outreach work, facilitate more public discussions, educate more members of the public, the medical community and our elected officials about this issue and to continue to assert that sick and dying people do not belong in prison for trying to ease their suffering.

As we work towards passage of this bill in the next legislative session we will need the help and support of all Alabamians.

This news isn’t as bad as it seems. We didn’t expect it to go far this legislative season because of the November elections. We did get a new (still top secret, until Election Day, at least) sponsor. This issue can be expected to be very hot next February when we reintroduce it, though.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

8 Comments
  1. Steve, you probably already got this since you are on LPA activists but if anyone else relevant to this issue is reading, these guys would be well worth contacting for help on this if you haven’t talked to them yet.

    BTW the Caring Use website appears to be down. Are you still maintaining it? The link from LPA is messed up.

  2. So smoking the carcinogenic and obnoxious herb tobacco in the presence of non-consenting diners is considered OK, but the ill who would find relief from cannabis are SOL?

    When will compassion and respect overcome such insanity?

  3. Good Work. The smoking ban also failed in the Free State, New Hampshire. It failed in the Senate committee. However, in NH, most bills that fail in committee are still voted on. It failed the Senate by an even larger margine. And that happened, even though one of the Senators against the ban was unable to attend the vote.

    It may not seem like a big deal, but many local merchant groups and national semi-government groups paid people to push for the ban. They went to the Senate and lied to the Senators about the health problems caused by smoking and stuff.

    New Hamsphire is the only New England state to have have a strong smoking ban.

  4. RE: Medical marijuana,
    we are working to make it legal in SD and need a LOT of help. Pays good including travel. Deadline May 1.

    I don’t know if it’s OK to put up the number to call here, post a reply with your email if interested.

  5. Palie, for something like that, feel free to post a number. Just no numbers for typical spamvertizing.