Tuscaloosa Vigil for Orlando Shooting Victims, Medical Cannabidiol Legal in Alabama

Jun 14, 2016

LGBT advocates gather in downtown Tuscaloosa for a candlelight vigil honoring Orlando shooting victims
Credit Alex AuBuchon / APR

Gay rights advocates in Tuscaloosa are remembering the dozens of victims of a gruesome mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday.

Druid City Pride, an LGBTQ organization in Tuscaloosa, held a candlelight vigil last night along with countless other groups across the state and throughout the country. Those taking part memorialized the 49 people killed and remembered the dozens more injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Reverend Fred L. Hammond is the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tuscaloosa. He says there’s a good reason this shooting has shaken the LGBT community so deeply.

“Pulse was a place where people could finally let down the walls needed to protect themselves at work, in their families, in public space. So in a very real sense, this attack was an invasion in our homes.”

Organizers say those interested in helping the victims of the Orlando shooting should consider donating blood, and also donating to a GoFundMe page raising money for the victims’ hospital bills and burial costs. At press time, over 70,000 donors had already raised over $3 million.

A medical treatment with roots in marijuana is now legal in Alabama.

Governor Robert Bentley signed “Leni’s Law” in recognition of a young girl whose family moved to Oregon to receive cannabidiol for seizures. The oil, also known as CBD, is now available legally in limited capacity in Alabama.

Dr. Jerzy Szaflarski is a professor of neurology and director of the Division of Epilepsy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He says UAB’s research on CBD oil for adults and children has shown that 50 to 60 percent of the 90 patients studied have responded well when it comes to epilepsy.

“We see significant decreases in seizure frequency and severity in about 50 to 60 percent of these patients. So obviously not all patients respond to the treatment, but a substantial number of patients do, and their seizures and their quality of life get better.”

Szaflarski says UAB research on CBD oil is being conducted under Carly’s Law, which preceded Leni’s Law. People with serious epilepsy may be admitted to participate in UAB research on CBD oil by referral from their neurologist.

Forecasters say strong storms are possible in many parts of Alabama today.

The National Weather Service says storms in the northern part of the state today will be capable of wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour, with frequent lightning and heavy rain.

In south Alabama, forecasters say a few strong thunderstorms will be possible. They say frequent lightning and strong winds will be the main threats.

Some thunderstorms were already moving across parts of the Birmingham metro area early this morning.