Stutts files bills to limit 2019 gas tax, 2021 medical marijuana law

Stutts files bills to limit 2019 gas tax, 2021 medical marijuana law

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, this week filed bills targeting the state’s 2019 gas tax increase and 2021 medical cannabis law.

Stutts said the two different bills would both advance a conservative agenda.

The 2019 gas tax gradually increased the state gas tax by 10 cents. The law also provides that beginning in 2023 the tax could rise or fall 1 cent every two years, based on the cost of materials used to build roads and bridges.  Stutts voted against the “Rebuild Alabama” plan three years ago.

Now, his Senate Bill 277 undoes that indexing but leaves the 10 cent increase intact.

“I fully understand the need for the repair of roads and bridges across the state. The 10-cent per gallon tax that is in place raises over $300 million annually,” Stutts said in a written statement.

Separately, Stutts’ Senate Bill 278 would require women of childbearing age to have a negative pregnancy test before they can get medical cannabis.

Stutts, an obstetrician, opposed the 2021 law that allows people with certain medical conditions to use some cannabis products. His Senate Bill 278 would mandate “every woman of childbearing age from 25 to 50 years of age, to obtain 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.”

“Just as we instruct women to avoid alcohol and drugs during pregnancy, it is important to the health of a child for their mother to abstain from the use of cannabis,” Stutts said. “There is no safe level of marijuana use during pregnancy. Therefore, it is reasonable to ensure that pregnant or breastfeeding women and cannabis cards do not coincide.”