Press Release

Alabama Governor Signs Medical Cannabis Bill

May 17, 2021

Alabama Governor Signs Medical Cannabis Bill

Monday, May 17, 2021

Contact: Violet Cavendish

Alabama Becomes 36th State to Legalize Medical Cannabis

Montgomery, AL — On Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Compassion Act (SB 46) into law, making Alabama the 36th state to legalize cannabis for medical use. 

The Compassion Act passed the legislature by a two-to-one margin with bipartisan support. The bill will allow registered patients with qualifying conditions in Alabama to safely access and use medical cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation. Medical cannabis will be available to patients in forms such as pills, lozenges, oils, and patches. A summary of the bill is available here.

Effective medical cannabis laws have now been adopted in 36 states, including several Southern states such as Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and now Alabama. (The count no longer includes Mississippi. Earlier this month, the Mississippi Supreme Court issued a deeply flawed ruling to overturn Amendment 65, the medical cannabis law that voters overwhelmingly approved at the November 2020 election.)

Statement from Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project:
“This is a major step forward for Alabamians. Rather than being subjected to arrest and criminal penalties for using medical cannabis, this new law will enable patients who are suffering from illnesses and medical conditions to safely use and access medical cannabis, a treatment option that is accessible to so many of their fellow Americans. We applaud the legislature for passing and Gov. Ivey for signing the Compassion Act.”

Statement from Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project:
“The victory in Alabama shows elected officials nationwide are finally getting the message that allowing medical cannabis has overwhelming, bipartisan public support. Polls consistently show the vast majority of Americans support allowing seriously ill patients to use cannabis for medical purposes with their doctors’ approval, and Alabama serves as the latest evidence that medical cannabis is possible in any state in the country.”


Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 10 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.

Visit for more information.