Decatur City Council approves ordinance authorizing medical cannabis dispensaries

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — In a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Decatur City Council approved an ordinance allowing medical cannabis dispensaries in Morgan County.

Although the approval was accompanied by some dissent, City Council Speaker Jacob Ladner said he did not support passing the ordinance. He justified his positions.

“We have fentanyl issues, and we have other issues…in Alabama and in this country. It will be a challenge for our local officials to figure out how to find out,” Ladner said. “It’s just throwing another drug into the mix that people will be debilitated with.”

Ladner also mentioned federal laws that prohibit the cultivation and sale of weed for any reason, although the US Department of Justice has lifted all federal bans on medical marijuana.

His biggest concern, Ladner told News 19, is that the order’s approval will be an added concern in conjunction with Morgan County’s current opioid crisis.

Andrea Hoffmeier, a citizen advocate at Decatur, disagreed with Ladner’s assessment.

“Chemically it’s absolutely different from opioids and that’s something I don’t think, pardon the pun, mix our drinks on it,” explained Hoffmeier, who has been pushing medical cannabis for years while she struggles with pain and uses a cane to walk.

“I also think there was a discussion that Mr. Ladner had about meth,” she continued. “Well, all the illegal drugs that we can’t compare to medical marijuana.

The board says Morgan County is at the top of the state for companies applying for licenses to operate a dispensary. Decatur now joins 37 other counties that have approved the ordinance.


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