The Birmingham City Council took a first step toward allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, after Alabama begins licensing dispensaries next year.
The council did a first reading of an ordinance to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Birmingham.
Under state guidelines, Jefferson County could end up with as many as nine dispensaries, said Julie Barnard, assistant city attorney for Birmingham.
Alabama became the 37th state to approve medical marijuana when it adopted a law last year.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin noted that municipalities have to pass legislation allowing dispensaries before they can locate in a city. “Montgomery is the only one so far,” he said.
“There is high interest in this area,” Woodfin said.
Council member Hunter Williams said he there was neighborhood opposition to locating CBD, or cannabis oil, stores in Huffman and he anticipates neighborhoods may not want medical marijuana dispensaries in their neighborhoods either. “I want to make sure we respect the neighborhoods that don’t want this in their neighborhood,” Williams said.
“This is not the same,” Woodfin said. “It’s not even in the same ballpark.”
Woodfin cautioned against attaching a negative “stigma and perception” to medical marijuana, which can only be used by those authorized to receive a medical marijuana card.
Medical marijuana is