Cannabis in Alabama

Cannabis in Alabama is illegal for all purposes since 1931; first-time possession of personal amounts is a misdemeanor crime, but repeated possession or possession with intent to sell is a felony. In 2014, Alabama passed Carly's Law allowing federally approved clinical trials of CBD oil to treat children with seizures at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Prohibition (1931)

Cannabis was banned in Alabama in 1931.[1]

Carly's Law for CBD trials (2014)

In April 2014, Governor Robert Bentley signed Carly's Law, which permits the University of Alabama at Birmingham to provide non-psychoactive CBD oil to children with debilitating seizures as a clinical study.[2] The bill does not include any wider legalization of CBD oil or cannabis.[3][4]

Failed attempt to legalize medical marijuana (2015)

In 2015 state Senator Bobby Singleton proposed the Medical Marijuana Patient Safe Access Act, which would have allowed patients with 25 severe conditions to access medical cannabis. The bill was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee with near-unanimous approval, but failed to reach the Senate floor.[5] Senator Jabo Waggoner, head of the Senate Rules Committee, blocked the bills further progress, stating:"It is bad legislation...We don't need that in Alabama." High Times described the proposed bill as "the most impressive piece of legislation the South has seen in regards to establishing a statewide medical marijuana program".[6]

Gonzalez v. Raich amicus

Despite not allowing medical cannabis, Alabama along with Mississippi and Louisiana filed an amicus brief protesting Gonzalez v. Raich, with Alabama stating: "The point is that, as a sovereign member of the federal union, California is entitled to make for itself the tough policy choices that affect its citizens."[7]

Legal code

Under Alabama Code, first-time "personal use" offenders are charged with Possession in the Second Degree, § 13A-12-214. This offense is classified as a misdemeanor; the maximum penalty authorized is a 1-year jail term (although it can be suspended with probation ordered) and a $6,000 fine.

Possession in the First Degree, § 13A-12-213, is charged for non-"personal use" (i.e. intent to sell) and second and subsequent "personal use" offenses. Thise latter charge is a Class C felony punishable with imprisonment of 1-to-10 years (there is a mandatory minimum of 1-year-and-1-day to serve which cannot be suspended by the judge) and $15,000 fine.[8]

Sale of any amount is a Class B felony punishable with a 2- to 20-year sentence (with the 2 years being a mandatory minimum) and $30,000 fine. Sale to a minor is punishable by a sentence of 10-years-to-life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $60,000.[9]


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