Alabama has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the nation. Several states have legalized the recreational use of the drug, and the majority have legalized it for medicinal purposes. Many states have decriminalized the first-time possession of small amounts of the drug for personal use. In these states, one might get a fine for possession of the drug, but the state cannot dole out a jail sentence. Unfortunately, Alabama is one of the few remaining states that does not have any decriminalization or legalization laws regarding marijuana.
According to FindLaw, the possession, sale and trafficking of any form of marijuana (excluding CBD oil) is a crime. Second-degree possession, which is possession of any amount of pot for personal use, is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, a person faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000. If the prosecution can show that a person possessed marijuana for anything other than personal use (first-degree possession), the offender may receive a Class C felony conviction. Such a conviction results in a mandatory prison sentence of between one and 10 years and a fine of up to $15,000.
If a person sells, delivers or distributes marijuana, he or she faces a Class B felony conviction. Such a conviction carries a mandatory prison sentence of between two and 10 years and a fine of up to $30,000.
If an adult sells, delivers or distributes marijuana to a person who is younger than 18 years of age, the penalty increases to a Class A felony. A Class A felony carries a punishment of between 10 and 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $60,000. Moreover, if a person sells the drug within three miles of a school or university, he or she may receive an additional five years in prison.
According to AL.com, Alabama took its first step to reduce marijuana penalties this past April. If the bill passes, the definition of first-degree possession would change to include “two ounces or more.” Moreover, the first conviction of first-degree possession would become a misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of up to $250. A second conviction would also be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. A third conviction would result in a Class D felony conviction, punishable by a fine of no more than $750.
The bill would also reduce the penalty for second-degree possession to a violation. A violation is less serious than a misdemeanor and is punishable only by a fine of up to $250.