Alabama State Sen. Larry Stutts (R) introduced a bill this week that would require women “of childbearing age” to present proof that they’re not pregnant in order to purchase medical cannabis products.
If passed, the bill would amend Alabama’s 2021 medical marijuana law by requiring dispensaries to ask women between the ages of 25 and 50 to provide “a negative pregnancy test either from her physician or documentation from a certified medical lab that has been ordered by a physician licensed in Alabama.”
Marijuana Moment, which first reported this story, noted that documentation must be dated within 48 hours of purchase before a woman can buy medical cannabis and that women who are breastfeeding would also be barred from buying medical cannabis products.
“Any registered qualified patient who becomes pregnant shall report her pregnancy status to her registered certifying physician and shall be prohibited from obtaining medical cannabis throughout the pregnancy,” the legislation says.
Emma Roth, staff attorney at National Advocates For Pregnant Women (NAPW), told Marijuana Moment that the bill “would violate women’s right to privacy and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.
“It’s another attempt to police pregnancy in the name of the fetus when medical marijuana poses no greater harm than other common exposures during pregnancy,” Roth said. “And where would the state’s reach end? Would a negative pregnancy test be required to be around smokers, to drink coffee or to work a factory job?”
Roth also cited a 2020 scientific report that concludes “current evidence does not suggest that prenatal cannabis exposure alone is associated with clinically significant cognitive functioning impairments.”
“Yeah, the marijuana bill is law now but if we’re going to have that as the law, we need to set some parameters,” Stutts said on a local radio talk show. “I think it can be improved, and one of the ways it can be improved is to limit pregnant people using it, limit their availability to it.” Pregnant people?
As Jane Austen wrote in Persuasion: “I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” Some of us might not want to be in Alabama either.