A bill that would reduce the penalty for marijuana possession in Alabama is scheduled for consideration on Wednesday by both the House and Senate judiciary committees.
Alabama Marijuana News and Politics
326 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510 (202) 224-4124
Communications: Stephen Miller
304 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510 (202) 224-5744
Sen. Shelby is running for re-election in 2016, to a sixth term in office
State marijuana law from FindLaw.com:
The only legal form of marijuana in Alabama is CBD or cannabidiol, which is a compound in cannabis that has medical effects without the THC to get you high. Patients with debilitating epileptic conditions can use CBD as part of state-sponsored clinical trial at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Alabama legislators authorized this study on CBD in Senate Bill 174 in 2014.
Marijuana Policy Project on Alabama:
Last update: July 21, 2015
ACLU study shows Alabama’s harsh marijuana laws result in racially disproportionate arrest rates
Alabama has some of the harshest marijuana penalties in the country. Possession of even a single joint is punishable by up to a year of incarceration. It’s clear these laws have not been successful, and new evidence shows that Alabama’s laws are not being evenly enforced.
A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in Alabama are 4.4 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Alabama inching toward more humane marijuana policy
During Alabama’s 2015 legislative session, Gov. Robert Bentley signed into law a modest penalty-reduction bill. SB 67 creates a new class of felonies with lower penalties for several lower level crimes, including second convictions for marijuana possession. These convictions now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison rather than up to 10 years, along with lower maximum fines.
In addition to the passage of this limited step forward for Alabama’s marijuana policies, two other bills were introduced but not enacted this year. The first, SB 162, would have declared anyone with five nanograms of THC per milliliter in his or her blood guilty of driving under the influence, regardless of whether the person was actually impaired. Thankfully, this unscientific bill did not advance beyond the Senate. But it is regrettable that a bill to create a compassionate medical marijuana program — SB 326 — did not even pass in the Senate.
While progress has been slow, last year’s passage of Carly’s Law — a CBD-focused bill — and this year’s passage of SB 67 are good indicators of changing attitudes in the Yellowhammer State. A 2004 poll by the Mobile Register and the University of South Alabama found that 75 percent of respondents supported legalizing marijuana for medical use under a doctor’s supervision.