Alabama bill would end state's marijuana prohibition
In early April, Alabama joined the growing list of states considering taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol. Sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), HB 550 would remove all criminal penalties for possession of marijuana by adults 21 and older. The proposal was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
Please ask your elected officials to support HB 550.
Rep. Todd’s bill, the Alabama Cannabis and Hemp Reform Act of 2013, would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to 12 plants in a secure space. It would tax marijuana similarly to alcohol and would task the Alabama Department of Revenue with licensing retail outlets and regulating the cultivation, distribution, and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and over. In addition to allowing a regulated and taxed marijuana industry, HB 550 would also set up a medical marijuana program.
Rep. Todd also sponsors two compassionate bills to allow the medical use of marijuana — HB 2, which was voted down in the House Health Committee, and HB 315, which was also referred to the House Health Committee. Let your legislators know that Alabamians strongly support protecting the seriously ill from arrest. 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.
Are you a patient, arrestee, clergy member, or member of law enforcement?
If you are supportive and are a patient with a serious medical condition who might benefit from medical marijuana, a loved one of such a patient, a person who has been arrested for possessing marijuana, a medical professional, a member of law enforcement or the clergy, or a lawyer or Ph.D. who might be interested in speaking out, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can be of special help. Be sure to include your address and nine-digit ZIP code so we can determine who your legislators are.
Learn about Alabama's marijuana laws
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. You can learn more about Alabama’s marijuana penalties and enforcement by reading this report by Jon Gettman, Ph.D.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Alabama, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.