It can’t be stressed enough how varied the laws regarding marijuana are in the United States. Despite some state laws allowing for much freedom with regards to cannabis and its uses, their are still many areas of the country that uphold the strictest of rules, including astronomical fines and worryingly long prison sentences for the most minor of infractions. With the marijuana climate changing in the USA as frequently as the weather, we thought we would provide a handy guide on all 50 states and their current cannabis laws.
In part 1 of this guide we take a look at the birthplace of the confederate flag and a state whose laws are slowly changing in favour of cannabis, Alabama.
Current Cannabis Laws
Possession: “Personal use” possession (< 1kg) is a Class A misdemeanour for a first time offender and attracts up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.
Possession of over 1kg (or a second offense of < 1kg) is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in jail with a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 months, and a fine of up to $15,000.
Sale: Distribution of any amount of cannabis in Alabama is considered a felony, carrying a mandatory 2 year prison sentence with a maximum penalty of a 20 year prison sentence and $30,000 fine. Distribution to a minor can result in even stricter punishments.
Cultivation: Cultivation and distribution of over 1kg are deemed “drug trafficking”, a felony offense that attracts these mandatory minimum sentences:
> 1kg – 3 years imprisonment + $25,000 fine
< 100 lb – 5 years imprisonment + $50,000 fine
< 1000 lb – 15 years imprisonment + $200,000 fine
>1000 lb – life imprisonment without parole
Medical Marijuana: A new bill named ‘Carly’s Law’ passed in April made the use and possession of CBD oil (Cannabidoil) legal, providing a doctor’s prescription is held. The bill went as far as allocating a million dollar research grant to the University of Alabama-Birmingham to assess the effectiveness of CBD oil. Apart from Cannabidoil, medical marijuanais not recognised by statute law. However, the defence of “medicinal necessity” may be used in mitigation in court.
Latest Legal Update: After signing the aforementioned ‘Carly’s Law’ Alabama House Representative Mike Ball stated earlier this year that it is the first and only cannabis related law that “stood any chance” of approval in the near future.