Reform efforts gain ground, but fall short; medical study approved
Last update: July 22, 2019
Despite progress being made on medical marijuana and decriminalization, the Alabama Legislature adjourned its 2019 legislative session without passing either reform.
The Alabama Senate passed a comprehensive medical marijuana bill — SB 236 — but it was modified in the House to instead create a study commission on the issue. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed the study into law. The 15-member commission must report with recommendations — including draft legislation — by December 1, 2019.
Meanwhile, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved SB 98, a decriminalization bill that would have reduced the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a fine of up to $250. Unfortunately, the House version, HB 96, was voted down in committee, 5-6, and the full Senate did not vote on the bill. Contact your lawmakers and ask them to make marijuana decriminalization a priority in 2020.
MPP wins First Amendment lawsuit against state of Alabama
In 2016, MPP joined forces with the Institute for Justice to bring a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state of Alabama, alleging the state was unconstitutionally pricing MPP and then-MPP Legislative Counsel Maggie Ellinger-Locke out of exercising our First Amendment rights.
The suit was settled in April 2017, when Alabama agreed to make its lobbyist training class available online, instead of requiring Ms. Ellinger-Locke to travel to Montgomery before she could send a single email to a lawmaker. You can learn more about the suit pre-settlement by checking out this op-ed by lead counsel for the suit, Paul Sherman.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Alabama, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.