Republican Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed a bill on Monday that legalizes the medicinal use of cannabis in the state. The measure, Senate Bill 46, was passed by the Alabama House of Representatives earlier this month after being approved by the state Senate in February. The Alabama medical marijuana legalization measure goes into effect immediately, although providers will have to be licensed by the state before legal medicinal cannabis sales begin.

“This is certainly a sensitive and emotional issue and something that is continually being studied,” Ivey said in a statement about the legislation. “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.”

Under the newly signed Alabama medical marijuana bill, doctors are now permitted to recommend cannabis for their patients with one of about a dozen serious medical conditions including seizures; spasticity associated with certain diseases

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