Alabama has taken a significant step toward legalizing medical marijuana. Last week, the Alabama Senate passed a bill by a 17-6 vote that would create a process for prescribing medical marijuana to patients with certain enumerated conditions. The bill will now go to the Alabama House of Representatives.

Currently, only four Deep South states allow medical marijuana: Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Florida. No states in the Deep South have legalized recreational marijuana. And while passage in the Alabama Senate in no way guarantees that the bill will ultimately be enacted, this development alone indicates just how far legalization advocates have come. Alabama remains one of the most conservative states in the nation; if the prohibition forces cannot win here, it is hard to foresee where they can (at least with respect to medical marijuana).

We will continue to monitor Alabama’s bill and report on any significant developments.